July 21, 2011

A SYM-PHONY (via The Mother Judd):

Music of the Spheres (ANTHONY TOMMASINI, 7/20/11, NY Times)

For most fans attending a baseball game is a summer diversion, an addiction, an act of devotion. I'm a music critic, so for me it's something else too: an immersion in bustling, jumbled, enveloping sound. And if you think of the Yankees as an athletic orchestra, the team has a comfortable and acoustically lively new concert hall. What if I treated a game as a kind of outdoor musical piece?

I had been to the old Yankee Stadium many times, starting in my childhood. But I had not made it to the new one until a recent Sunday for the game with the Tampa Bay Rays, a pitcher's duel between C. C. Sabathia of the Yankees and James Shields of the Rays. The Yankees won, 1-0.

To experience this baseball symphony in fresh ways I brought along some companions. Kingston Liniak, an 11-year-old nephew of my partner, Ben McCommon, was visiting New York for the first time. Kingston is a huge baseball fan and a gifted player in his league. To complete our party of four we brought Amitav Mitra, the discerning 13-year-old son of our neighbors down the hall in our apartment building.

Going to a game with the intent of paying attention to the sound of it all certainly affected my perceptions. I was struck more than ever by the constant buzz of voices. At the old stadium significant numbers of seats were tucked underneath upper tiers. If you were sitting in one of those enclosed areas, the sounds in your section were intensified, and you had a distorted impression of the overall aural experience.

Posted by at July 21, 2011 6:31 AM

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