It's too bad there were no takers for the concert last night. The Faure and Poulenc are both great pieces. The performances were not exceptional, though. They were good workmanlike performances but not extraordinary in any way. I thought the Poulenc was the better performed of the two. Carnegie was only about 3/4 full, which doesn't bode well for the future of live performances. I constantly see stories about local orchestras being forced to close down. In many ways I am largely indifferent myself. While there is a certain spark about hearing a piece performed live, it doesn't balance the advantages of recordings. On a recording I can listen to a great, inspiring performance. I can even listen to multiple great performances and compare subtle differences in tempi, dynamics, etc. I can do this with very good sound on a high quality stereo (frequently better than concert halls, Carnegie has particularly nice acoustics, but I still don't care for Avery Fisher very much), in a comfortable chair in my own house so I don't have to deal with crowds or cramped, uncomfortable seats, with a glass of my favorite scotch or cognac in hand. That's why I have 15000 recordings and I go to fewer and fewer concerts each year. When I do go to the trouble of getting my ass to a concert hall I try to hear premieres so that at least it is something that I cannot (at least for a few months anyway) hear on a recording. That said, there is something about live performances. While last nights was not inspiring, on Saturday we went to hear a performance of works by John Adams, who is one of my favorite contemporary composers. Adams conducted the London Sinfonietta, which has a long history with his music. The performances of Gnarly Buttons and Grand Pianola Music (one of my favorite Adams compositions) were superb, truly thrilling. It is for performances like that that I still drag myself to a concert hall a few times a year.