Live or Recorded; A Faustian response

I just responded to a Faustian question about
whether I had a choice between music or my stereo system. How about the choice between live concerts or recorded
music??? If I had more time in my hectic life:
live concerts( I just heard a wonderful Brahms' Sextet by a local sting ensemble) but.....
As a practical matter, I'd have to choose recordced music over live concerts. I can buy a lot more recorded music for a given amount, and if you select your recordings carefully you often get better performances than many live concerts.
Also, recordings allow repeated listening, which live concerts do not.

Others will, I'm sure, argue that live performances are the only way to go, particularly if you are lucky enough to live in an area like New York City, which has a wealth of wonderful performances each year to attend.

Your question poses a Hobbesian choice, particularly for someone like myself whose main music interest is jazz. There is no question that jazz is meant to be heard as a live presentation, and the best jazz is definitely of the "live" variety. Still, for me, I think I'd have to choose recordings over live concerts.
I agree Sdcampbell.

I put out the word that I wanted to see Ella Fitzgerald, Bill Evans and Billie Holliday in concert. No one has come up with any tickets yet.

I couldn't even score Jimi Hendrix tickets, and I know a guy at a local radio station.

Guess it's LP's for me.
I third the motions above for the reasons advanced. Adding to Albert's quest for tickets, may I also add Furtwangler, Backhaus, Richter, Ferrier, Walter, J Campbell, Hooker, Waters, and many others.
I'm with Greg and Albert for the same reasons.
I am not sure. Muddy Waters live at the Main Point in 1970....Rolling Stones live at the Spectrum 1969....
Mahler's 7th Tonhalle Zurich Zinman conducting last Sept next door neighbor's daughter practicing Brahm's cello sonata. They are all packed with an emotional content
beyond recorded music. It is a moment in time that will never happen again. Maybe its the interaction between
audience and performer, a social aspect that recorded music
does not have. LIVE is life, existential being (Heidegger).
Listening to recorded music is a passive response.

Just my opinion!!!
Shubertmaniac, interesting that you call responding to recorded music more passive than reacting to a live event. Obviously we are all different. I personally get drawn into the music here or there, especially if my system gets the gestalt of the piece more or less musically right. That is indeed a live, a vital experience, not a surrogate for something, because the system functions as a musical instrument, if you will. Furthermore, at home I enjoy the absence of coughing, of tweaking chairs, of untimely whisperings or the distraction, the perfume of a young woman sitting in the next row in front may cause me. So what you call the social aspect, can in fact be detrimental to the musical experience. On the other hand, the whole audience in a hall enthralled by an extraordinary performance, be it Zinmann in the Tonhalle or the Alban Berg Quartett at the Zurich Opera is an experience, even the best of systems cannot simulate. All the same however, being touched by music per se, no matter what its source, can in my opinion never be a passive affair. Music, no matter its source, even a car radio will do sometimes, will elicit all sorts of emotional responses, which can lead you into an active,conscious and reflective dialog with what is happening on a myriad of planes .
Imagine how much money you will need to spend to listen to the live music like you're listening to your rig???????
Another great post, we seem to be getting a few of them recently! Having just performed the Lord Nelson Mass in our choir's spring concert, I must say that nothing will quite drain me emotionally as much as a live concert, both as a performer and as a member of the audience. I do appreciate the ability to have the greatest artists in my listening room at a moment's notice, and I am moved emotionally by it, but never quite to the extent as at a live musical event. There's an electricity, an edge, that you just don't get from a recording, especially a studio recording (probably why I like recordings from concert performances), and on big pieces, where real life impact and power are involved (I have never heard a recording capture the visceral power of the bass drum at the end of the Shostakovich 5th or the beauty and majesty of final portion of the Mahler 2nd) there is no contest, no matter how good your system.
If I could hear/see great live music every day, I would. However, due to geographical, financial, and temporal constraints, I derive over 99% of my musical pleasure from recorded performances.
I'm with you both Shubertmaniac and Reprince. There is nothing like the emotional one time experience of the live performance. I can't recall a listening session that was so memorable of a particular performance, more likely the sound of the system. But oh the memories of the many live performances that are etched in my mind never to leave. And Shubertmanic thanks for mentioning two of the places that brings back some of those memories.

I too Rcprince search out good live performances over studio to capture some of that magic.
Monday night we were front and center when Vienna Philharmonic performed the Bruckner 8th conducted by Bernard Haitink. NO recording and NO system can even come close to reproducing the power, tone, detail and subtlety of that experience. The VPO owns this piece. The Furtwangler, von Karajan and even Boulez recordings with the VPO are better interpretations. I can listen to them anytime. Without them I would not have enjoyed Monday’s performance as much because I have been able to hear this magnificent work of music live only five times in 35 years of concert going. That said, it is the regular experience of live music that is the impetus for owning a high end system. Without that unattainable benchmark I would still be a mid fi system.
Plsl: I'm sneaking out on Friday to catch their matinee, if I can. In my view, the VPO owns almost any piece they choose to play. Heard them in Vienna last June playing the Strauss Alpine Symphony with Janssons conducting--no stereo system in the world can reproduce that experience. How was Haitink with them?
The best term to describe it was masterful. It was one of those very select performances where the conductor was in complete service to the music and did not seem to impose an interpretation, but rather lead an orchestra of virtuosos that CARED about the music. The tempi tended toward the slow side but it never dragged. The adagio was (as it should be) the centerpiece of the interpretation and it was shattering. The first movement did not emphasize the tragic to the extent of the Furtwangler and Karajan and I would have preferred that the articulation of the scherzo had been sharper but these are quibbles.

The sound of the VPO is so right for Bruckner it was glorious to hear them play such a truly great piece of music from up front.
Do you need the VPO to get that experiential feeling?
My friend(who is a great guitarist) doing lewd lyrics to Gloria on his Martin acoustic guitar?? My wife on her
accordion playing the Tic Tock Polka?? My granddaughter
with a penny whistle??? All live events right???? Do we draw a line and say only VPO with Haitink or the Zurich with Zinman are the only experiences that are memorable or worthy of our attention???If your daughter was learning to play the Star Spangled Banner on her clarinet would you shoo her away and say go away!! I think not!!! You would want to experience that with your heart and soul.And that experience existentially( an authentic experience-Heidegger again) is pure music.
Well put, sir! You could add to that my wife's (off-key) singing to the Gilbert & Sullivan Songbook record I got from Sdcampbell--thanks, SD, it's been a lot of fun!
Sorry I don't agree. I've gone to a live musical event once or twice a week for thirty plus years. There are good, bad and great performances. There are many live performances of music that I could go to but don't like the music so I don't go. There are many musicians who are enjoying themselves and having a great time on stage and are not worth listening to. I've been to concerts where the musicians are playing great music on auto pilot -- this just makes me hopping mad so I stay away from these groups and listen to recordings.

These opinions apply to recorded music as well.

The authentic experience happens between the ears in wetware of the perceiver whose perceptual capabilities have been molded by billions of years of evolution. The listener’s actual experience is both culturally and personally determined but so what. It is the height of intellectual arrogance to refer to another person’s life or experience as inauthentic but it doesn’t hurt to point them to great music.

My answer to the purpose of being is for me to have a great time and listen to as much good music as I can. Life is too short to listen to bad music
In Schubertmaniac's and my posts we were referring principally to non-professionals whom we care about performing, or at least that's how I'm looking at it. I agree that I wouldn't want to attend performances by professionals who were merely going through the motions or performances of works I'm not interested in (although I'm always willing to give unknown pieces a listen), but my son's first elementary school concert was a priceless musical moment I'll always treasure.
It's an interesting question, because on the whole I listen to recorded music much more often then I listen to live music. However, there is not listening session that comes close to producing the kind of euphoria that I have felt listening to music being made rather than simply reproduced. Muddy Waters may have been a more competant musician than Claerence Gatemouth Brown is, but I've never heard a Muddy recording that was as much fun as seeing Gatemouth and then talking to him aftrewards about the blues in my hometown... and I can think of dozens of examples like this. Would you rather give up a steady stream of consistant pleasantness or intermitant experiences of rapture? It's like trying to choose friendship or love. I'm just glad that I don't have to make the call.
To Rcprince. I certainly accept that there are personal and in that sense extra-musical reasons for listening to a performance. The reference to Heidegger that Schubertmaniac casually tosses about has very specific ontological, epistemic and metaphysical claims about life and art. I spent the better part of a semester in the dim mists of Herr Heidegger's writings. My response is my considered response to claims which I find specious. I also believe that they are germane to this hobby.
Bringing up Heidegger was calulated; I would not broach
a philosophical point casually. There was a point to be made. You decided it was a little deceptive, your choice. An authentic experience is a philosophical term.I would never demean any of your experiences as authentic or not authentic, only you can decide that, existentially speaking.
Other than the music per se, the live performance offers ambience, and human interaction and contact. If we call such "surrounding" aspects of the live experience, "atmosphere" (for wont of a better word), then atmosphere, inseparable from the music, can beget magic. At home, we would have a more solitary "atmosphere".
This same "atmosphere" at home is of solitary ilk; when I listen to (say) Furt, I am in a phantasy world of nostalgia. So, authentic experience? Mr Heidegger would probably disagree -- but Mr Kant may not! But the question of whether I can experience Furtwangler live is clearly metaphysical, isn't it? Cheers.
Please show me an experience you go through, which is NOT authentic as an experience per se? Even if I would only hallucinate, that I'm writing this at the moment into my computer, it is still authentic, as MY experience of writing this at this very moment.
Perfect Detlof you are Heideggerian!!! Now Sartre would
react differently. Sartre: Life is totally absurd thus totally meaningless. UNLESS you make a leap of faith and believe in totally something: Religion, secular humanism,
why not music??
I don't believe in music. As far as my experience goes, you might call music a catalyst, which sometimes gives a clearer view into the " Lichtung des Seins", to quote H., a view into where I am at the moment. It is indeed an open question whether life has a meaning or not. It is one of these big questions, which we know since Kant, that we have no answer for. What we do know however, that it is essential for the well being of our psyche, to have meaning, which is not an intellectual process at all, we fall in and out of meaning, like falling in or out of love. It happens to us. Religions, secular humanism are ideologies, which can be a surrogate for meaning. Faith can give meaning, but that does not necessarily coincide with the belief in a religion or any other form of ideology, because it is basically a personal form of relationship between the individual and the Great Unknown. Music is here a very powerful catalyst indeed. I've had rare moments, when listening to music, that gave this feeling of meaning, sort of safely being enfolded in it. You might call it a religious experience in the old Latin sense of the word, "religere" meaning being tied back to, reconnected to what is essential. To get back to the thread, I rather have this at home, because there is less distraction, compared to music in a concert hall, but it has happened there to me too once, during Mozart's Requiem.

By the way, if someone should feel offended, I make a difference between "religion" as a body of theological concepts, which has developed through the centuries into creed and a "religious person", which to me is synonymous to a person who has faith, hence meaning.