I often hear the comment among Rush Hour audiences that things are “always different, yet the same” – they can rely on the user-friendly format to be the same level of excellence weekly, and yet, each week is somehow different from the next.

The June 19 program was born almost a year ago, over dinner after a Rush Hour concert. Brant Taylor, Ken Olsen and I talked about the possibility of doing a multiple cello concert – and here we are, with both the same user-friendly format and a program you would rarely hear elsewhere!

There are many ways to listen to live classical music in concert. As a graduate student in Vienna, I explored several on a weekly basis – often going to the same concert program three or four times with different objectives. I’ll suggest a few here today:

  1. Focus on the performers as they bring the music to life – how they are playing their instruments, how they are getting sound from their instruments; how they play individually and how the group works together.

  2. Focus on how the composer wrote for those particular instruments, as compared with other composers.

  3. Focus on the particular piece of the composer being performed, as it fits in the that composer’s creative timeline, and/or the historical timeline of the era.

  4. Or…finally, sit back, open yourself to the magic of the music and allow it to take you, your inner ear, your imagination, all of you – somewhere else, on a broader timeline!

There are many more ways to listen, and I’m sure you’ll discover them throughout the summer. Let me know if you find something interesting or discover something for the first-time in your listening experience.

— Deborah Sobol

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