The Development Of Concert Activity
A concert is an organized live music performance in public, usually at a venue. The performance can be by a solo performer, most times then known as a recital, or by an all-encompassing musical group, including a band, choir, or orchestra. The term concert will almost always imply the presence of a group of people, and there are numerous well-known and popular concert topics, from classical music to jazz, from rock to ballet. However, even when arranged as a group, no matter what type of music is performed, there are four main elements that compose any concert.
Organization is one of the oldest elements of any concert activity. Music theory goes a long way towards explaining how a concert is organized, where each participant is seated for their turn, what music is played, how it is heard, and what specific objectives are achieved during the performance. Organized concerts usually have pre-set rules of conduct set down in the concert manual or by the organist and conductor, which generally describe the types of actions that a concert musician can take during a concert. This helps to keep the overall mood of the music in a consistent and controlled manner.
Audience participation is another aspect of concert planning that has roots in the early history of public concerts. Public performances were conducted as a form of entertainment, and many early concerts were sponsored by local businessmen who wished to showcase their wares to the general public. As the popularity of regularly-hosted public concerts waned, the concert promoters began to realize that they could create a more reliable source of income by arranging concerts outside the normal business week.
These concerts, also known as pep rallies, were hugely popular with the general public. They were often sponsored by large businesses and corporations who would pay huge sums of money to have their products displayed at these large public gatherings. The organizing of these major musical performances required immense organization, from the selection of the various songs to the choice of the performers. As new pep rallies were being organized, it became necessary for organizers to hire the services of a suitable manager or orchestra. This gave birth to what is known today as concert management, a discipline which requires the hiring of professional concert organizers and managers. Concert organizers and managers work together to put on successful public concerts.
Another interesting development of the concert experience came about during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, when several German musicians formed a concert band, commonly referred to as a “kindergarten” (a group of children’s choir). The first public German concert organized by these groups, called “Konzert und Runden”, (luster und Rath), was held in the town of Essen in 1900. Although it did not attract the audience of a major classical music concert, it is interesting to note that these German concerts gave birth to several of the techniques used by modern concert organizers. In fact, some of the concepts of the modern concert hall came from the German kindergarten.
Finally, another German musician, Kurt Walzer, organized and conducted some chamber music concerts in the late nineteen-twentieth century. These efforts made use of a more experimental approach than had been usual in earlier classical concert activity. Walzer’s concerts, for the most part, were purely unperformed, and consisted mainly of compositions written for soloists. It was not uncommon for him to include a small orchestra in his shows, sometimes playing chaconne.