The next time I am confronted with a cynic who asks "Why bother going to concerts when it's easier to listen to your stereo at home?" I will reply "What? And miss the thrill of musical and emotional interaction between performers and listeners, demonstrated so vividly last night, for example, in the National Academy of Sciences Auditorium?
"Forgo the American Chamber Orchestra skillfully performing works by Bartok, Britten, Mozart and Pierre Max Dubois in a near-perfect acoustical setting? Pass up conductor William Yarborough's insightful interpretations, the musicians' solid ensemble playing, saxophonist Christopher Ford's exciting solo and the audience's wildly enthusiastic response?
"Flake out from the richly textured, articulated instrumental passages free from the scratches and pops pressed into today's recordings? No way.
"Or maybe you would be persuaded by Ford's heartfelt phrasing in the first movement of Dubois' Concerto for Alto Saxophone and String Orchestra? Would the last movement, a playful rondo suggestive of a salty dog on port call, bring a smile to your lips? Would Bartok's hypnotic, rhythmic Romanian Folk Dances, with its sassy little violin passages by concertmaster William Haroutounian, or the erudite reading of Mozart's Divertimento No. 17 in D be the trump card?"
In the conductor's words, it is "wonderful that science and music can work together for the good of man." Perhaps he's said it all, my cynical friend.