“This film should be played loud!”
That instruction precedes The Last Waltz, a concert movie documenting the star-studded swan song of The Band. It’s good advice. You can’t fully appreciate the crackle of Robbie Robertson’s guitar or the wallop of drummer Levon Helm with the sound down low. Same goes for the guest singers. The growl of Muddy Waters, the moan of Emmylou Harris and the yawp of Dylan all benefit from volume.
I thought about this a few weeks ago while attending one of the RPO’s Gershwin concerts. Rhapsody in Blue, which absolutely fills the sky on the CD, felt like just a gleam on the horizon. I like the piece, and wanted to be overwhelmed but it just wasn’t loud enough. I’m heading back this Saturday with similar hopes, but I wonder if Carmina Burana can possibly live up to the billing as “primitive, powerful and passionate.”