Nathan Hwang

Review – Carnegie Hall

So I’ve been to Carnegie Hall twice in two weeks, and haven’t written anything about either of those events, so… I suppose I should rectify that.

First, a little background. Despite my grounding in classical music, I hadn’t gotten into Carnegie Hall in the nearly 7 months I’ve been in New York. I know, shame, shame. However, I really didn’t have any excuses during spring break, and Mahler was being played by the Boston Philharmonic, so off I went to get some student tickets.

First impressions: while it’s not modern like Benaroya Hall, it’s also not overly ornate like the Rialto Theater (which I spent a fair amount of my high school years in). The seats are passable, but the seating in the balcony is tremendously steep.

Oh, you want me to talk about the music and acoustics? Well, it was somewhat disappointing for string enthusiasts, because when you get so far up the balcony, all the strings kind of get mushy and lose a lot of their definition, especially when playing softly. And really, strings shine when they go down to ppp and leave off the vibrato, so that didn’t work out so well. The brass came through much better, but there’s not really a time when the brass don’t come through, so that wasn’t a plus (winds? what winds?).

The poor acoustics may have contributed, but I didn’t really enjoy Mahler’s 9th: I thought that since I was really into his 5th and 6th symphonies, that his 9th should also be fantastic. However, it didn’t really have any hooks like the other two, and the brass tended to ride on top of the strings without letting them through except for when the entire orchestra dropped low, and by that time the strings just didn’t come through at all. So, Mahler’s 9th is not my favorite yet: I do want to listen to a recording before I pass judgement.

I went to Carnegie Hall for the 2nd time today, to do something completely different: there was a screening of Hayao Miyazaki’s work, specifically, 2 shorts by Studio Ghibli that have never been screened in the USA before.

So, wow. After watching those simple animations, I realize that my story telling prowess needs work. A lot of work. I simply could not see myself coming up with or writing those sorts of stories, or storyboarding them, and the animating was fantastic. So. Yeah. I think I’m still in Creative-Output shock. I’ll figure out what I’m thinking sometime.

Okay, now it’s time to watch Ask an Engineer. And then after that, work some more on the advanced programming project of death, and maybe even doing some work on the algorithms homework of death!

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One Response to “Review – Carnegie Hall”

  1. hi! says:

    jealous. but i’ve never been to benaroya despite having lived in seattle all my life, so i deserve to suffer a little for my laziness.

    miyazaki screening sounds like it would’ve been super cool to see.

    and if it makes you feel better about your creativity, here’s a creepy theory on how he came up with totoro:


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