[Note: This post has been updated (1) as of 7:45 PM Eastern on 25 Nov. See below.]
We're somewhat embarrassed admitting this, longtime concertgoer that we are, but after clicking-over fifteen minutes before concert start to the free Brahms concert by the Berlin Philharmoniker last night (Symphonies Nos. 3 and 4), webcast via their Digital Concert Hall, we felt the same sense of heightened anticipation and exhilarating social interaction we feel when attending an actual live concert, that sense of being there persisting throughout the entire concert. And that feeling was due almost entirely the superbly photographed, miked, choreographed, and flawlessly reproduced high-def presentation, both visual and audio, which we watched and listened to in full-screen-display mode from beginning to end using a high-bandwidth transmission (low- and medium-bandwidth transmission were also available). Even though the program was a bit too much Brahms for us at one sitting (OK, a lot too much Brahms), we watched and listened through the entire webcast precisely for the purpose of assessing the totality of the experience of a digital presentation of a symphony concert, and found it remarkably (and unexpectedly) satisfying even though our 17" CRT display is ancient technology, and our computer's speakers nothing but three-inch-paper-cone wonders. Is this the future of the symphony concert? We have to say we're afraid it is notwithstanding that in our estimation no reproduction, no matter how superbly presented, reproduced, and received, can equal or replace the in-hall experience of a live performance. But, then, perhaps that's just us. You know, a diehard, old fogey reactionary, as we've been called, right down to the bone.
Update (7:45 PM Eastern on 25 Nov): If you balked at our use of the phrase, Berlin Philharmoniker, read this before firing off an eMail of objection.