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I just had the pleasure of attending a live performance of Khatia Buniatishvili with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The performance was good, but of the three pieces played, only one had piano, and she did not perform any solo work. The last similar show I saw, the pianist performed a couple of short solo pieces in between the big orchestral pieces. Further, although the seats were expensive, they were in row W (21?) and I felt as though I could barely hear the piano above the orchestra. I also wonder if you need to sit way closer to get a full aural experience.

I was looking forward to hearing her play for a couple of months. Maybe I will stick to piano recitals rather than symphonies, but there aren’t many of them in FL, at least not with well known pianists.

The set included:
Walton Portsmouth Point Overture
Liszt Piano Concerto No. 2 in A Major, S.125
Rachmaninoff Symphony 2


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It's a shame you couldn't hear her well.

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That must have been really disappointing for you Craig. I could imagine how I would feel. That live performance feeling can be special when it comes off, but when it doesn't it just leaves you flat.

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See here:
http://www.kahle.be/articles/Kahle95b.pdf
Note that acoustic level falls off by the inverse square law, so row W might not have been optimum. You did not mention which concert hall and this also might have been a factor.
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When a pianist plays a concerto they usually do not play any other solo works except for possibly a short encore. If you couldn't hear the soloist well she was playing too softly and/or the orchestra was playing too loudly.

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It’s always a disappointment when something you’re looking forward to doesn’t measure up. I will say, however, that in all my years of attending performances with the Philadelphia Orchestra, if a piano soloist is on the program, he or she only ever plays one main piece, usually a piano concerto, and the rest of the program is orchestral. Every once in a while you’ll get a short solo encore but never a programmed solo piece. After all, the evening was the orchestra with an invited soloist, not the soloist who hired the orchestra.

If I want to hear the soloist in a variety of pieces at once, I stick with piano recitals.

As for the acoustics, I don’t know why that disappointed. Maybe it was that it’s not their home venue and they just weren’t well prepared for how to use it. Or the venue’s piano was not up to snuff for a large orchestral performance.

Sorry to hear it didn’t go as expected, especially after waiting so long to go!

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I just looked her up on Facebook because your thread reminded me to see if she’s coming near me anytime soon. Anyway, she has a picture of her Florida concert and it sure looks like she basically played a gymnasium, not a concert hall. If that’s true, no wonder the acoustics were not up to snuff.

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No, no, it was a real concert hall. Beautiful venue, actually - it was at The Kravis Center, , specifically Dreyfoos Hall. .

Here is an interesting find on The Tech Specs of the hall.

The sound quality was good, but I wouldn't say it was totally immersive. I wonder if Beemer's point about the inverse square law was spot on.....it would have been better to have been a little closer.

Here are a couple of nice photos.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]


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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
When a pianist plays a concerto they usually do not play any other solo works except for possibly a short encore. If you couldn't hear the soloist well she was playing too softly and/or the orchestra was playing too loudly.

I'll admit it is possible that it was perfectly well balanced from the standpoint of the concerto, but it is possible it was disappointing only to me as I came specifically to see the pianist.


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Originally Posted by TwoSnowflakes
........After all, the evening was the orchestra with an invited soloist, not the soloist who hired the orchestra.

If I want to hear the soloist in a variety of pieces at once, I stick with piano recitals........

I think that's the bottom line. My expectations were not in accordance with reality!


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When I saw Yuja last year with the LA Philharmonic, she only played for half the time. The focus was on the orchestra, but Yuja came back out for a small encore before the second half of the show began. But this format was expected.

I'll see her again next month and this time it will be a solo performance. Should be exciting!

https://www.laphil.com/events/performances/717/2020-02-18/yuja-wang?


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Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
When I saw Yuja last year with the LA Philharmonic, she only played for half the time. The focus was on the orchestra, but Yuja came back out for a small encore before the second half of the show began. But this format was expected.

I'll see her again next month and this time it will be a solo performance. Should be exciting!

https://www.laphil.com/events/performances/717/2020-02-18/yuja-wang?


That's a nice program!


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I heard Khatia perform the Rach 2 with Seattle Symphony last year. I had good seats on the main floor and the hall has excellent acoustics. I had the same experience - her playing was drowned out by the orchestra and her part was barely audible. At the time I attributed it to the guest conductor, but now I am thinking she may not be cut out for performing piano concertos with large orchestras in big venues.



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Originally Posted by cmb13
The sound quality was good, but I wouldn't say it was totally immersive. I wonder if Beemer's point about the inverse square law was spot on.....it would have been better to have been a little closer.


The inverse square law isn't as important in a concert hall because of the reflected sound. Once you get out past the reverberation radius, which is usually fairly close to the stage in a good hall, the direct sound (to which the inverse square law applies) is lower in volume than the reflected sound, which should be quite similar everywhere. However, very few halls in the world sound great from every seat. Some famous concert halls aren't really suitable for acoustic music at all.

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That's too bad, I really like her playing.


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Originally Posted by cmb13
No, no, it was a real concert hall. Beautiful venue, actually - it was at The Kravis Center, , specifically Dreyfoos Hall. .

Here is an interesting find on The Tech Specs of the hall.

The sound quality was good, but I wouldn't say it was totally immersive. I wonder if Beemer's point about the inverse square law was spot on.....it would have been better to have been a little closer.

Here are a couple of nice photos.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]


Very interesting. The acoustic specs for Dreyfoos Hall were designed by Russell Johnson of Artec - the same gentleman who designed the acoustic specs for the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, TX - which was opened and managed by the city arts office I headed back in the late 1980s.

The Meyerson acoustics were/are amazing and there wasn't a bad seat in the house. That said, sometimes acoustical designs don't always work out as well as intended. smile
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
When a pianist plays a concerto they usually do not play any other solo works except for possibly a short encore. If you couldn't hear the soloist well she was playing too softly and/or the orchestra was playing too loudly.


+1

The current trend here in the US is to play at least one encore following a concerto. It was rare 40-years-ago, but now programs are few minutes and it allows the encore. Not being able to hear is mainly the conductors fault in not controlling the orchestra. Gustavo Dudamel is our current director of the LA Phil and he was terrible with soloists when he started with the orchestra. I’ve never known why he is so hyped up at being so great. We’ve had many young directors much better than him, but that is a debate for another thread.

Did you sit underneath a balcony? Sometimes the acoustics get weird when there is an overhang. If it wasn’t something like that, then it’s the conductor’s fault.



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Commenters are focusing on the hall acoustics but I sat in the middle of the main floor more towards the stage than the back of the hall with no overhangs and Khatia could not be heard over the orchestra. Perhaps she does not have the technique to play in those kinds of venues.



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Originally Posted by Tenor1
......

Did you sit underneath a balcony? Sometimes the acoustics get weird when there is an overhang. If it wasn’t something like that, then it’s the conductor’s fault.

I didn't look straight up, but I was near the rear of the orchestra section (lower level), and there was an overhand pretty close if not right overhead. May be that affected the reflected sound.


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Interesting points. Maybe there needs to be an adjustment of volume by the pianist in such a setting, or maybe the conductor should have reigned in the orchestral volume a little bit, or maybe it was the hall or my seating position, or possibly my expectations and hope to hear the piano clearly as my highest priority. Or E. All of the above.


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