On Friday (4/24) at the blog From a Room, classical music critic Justin Davidson writes about New York City’s (le) Poisson Rouge, “a high-minded incarnation” of the former Village Gate club at the same location. “I have wondered occasionally why a pianist who would fume at the buzz of a muted cellphone at Carnegie Hall puts up with—no, seeks out—the racket and airlessness of (le) Poisson Rouge. The reason is that this little club changed the classical music world, at least in New York City, and nobody wants to feel left out. Most of the time, the classical-music establishment fetishizes the perfect space.… But on Bleecker Street, all the fussing falls by the wayside…. A silent, sober audience is a 19th-century invention; invigorating distraction is much older.…  Bach played his concertos in a coffee house, which, it being Germany, probably served beer.… The highbrow music club … works because audiences love low ticket prices, adequate food and privileged proximity to the stage. Composers and new music groups have found the place irresistible…. In these cramped but infinite art-and-alcohol-filled chambers, today’s composers have found the ideal incubators for their roving minds.… The bar-cum-concert hall is today’s composers’ home, their gothic cathedral, their CBGB’s, their Carnegie Hall.”

Posted April 29, 2014