There's justifiable raving all over the place about this video of Venezuela's amazing youth orchestra playing the Mambo from West Side Story.
I don't mean this in a negative way at all, but there's no question that the visuals (colors, smiles, dancing, cello-twirling) are a significant part of the experience. It's quite different than watching this next version (which I'm assuming is from the main body of the concert, with the video above being a delirious encore):
I'm not going to try to do a note-by-note analysis of the two performances, which are certainly different in more ways than just the visuals noted above. Still, it's instructive how different they are in effect. I know about the story of the orchestra when I'm watching version #2, but when watching version #1, I KNOW about the orchestra much more viscerally- everything about their story comes to life. (Of course, the Mambo lends itself to that; I assume their performance of Shostakovich 10 was less visually arresting, but I'm sure an audience would still hear it differently knowing who these kids are.)
By the way, since I'm still waiting for my Hatto Sonnets to catch fire, I was excited to see that a new article on that fascinating story has just been published; sadly, the new article doesn't shed much new light on anything. (The question I still want answered is who "planted" the iTunes connection into iTunes; it's pretty clear that iTunes didn't figure out where those Liszt etudes came from, especially since they came from multiple sources. It's much more likely that someone "in the know" plugged this info into the iTunes database, but this is almost never discussed.) In addition to rehashing all the established facts of the tale, we get the same wide-eyed astonishment as before about lack of critical objectivity:
Do you experience “King Lear”, or Robert Stephens’ or Paul Schofield’s Lear? It is a paradox that these masterpieces come mostly vividly to life bent through the prism of an almighty interpretative ego. And therein lies the trap. Although our knowledge of the performer enhances our aesthetic experience, it inevitably distorts our critical judgment.
It's only a "distortion" of critical judgment if we have an unrealistic expectation about what critical judgment should be. I've written about this too many times before to go over it again now, but suffice it to say that I don't know how one could watch the first video above and not "hear" the visuals as part of the aural experience.