22. October 2007 · Comments Off · Categories: Ramble

I’m playing only the Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune for this week’s Symphony Silicon Valley concerts. It’s the first work on the program, so I’ll be done early, and I plan on sitting in the audience for at least one performance. I’m looking forward to hearing the orchestra because the winds have been rearranged; the first row of woodwinds are on a higher riser. I’m hoping this will bring out the first row more. I think the hall is the most difficult for the oboes; we really have to blast to reach the audience. Or at least that’s how it feels much of the time. So we’ll see how this seating arrangement works.

Meanwhile, even with the short amount I’m playing, I’m not yet comfortable; I need to get my seaEnglish horn legs back. They are a bit on the weak side. Not playing EH as much as I used to, I feel just a tad insecure with pitch and projection. Such is life.

And while I’m trying to feel more comfortable on EH, I have the recital on Sunday evening. I only play oboe. Wouldn’t ya know?

Lisa said she was viewer 156. But I’m told I’m viewer 155. Are we moving backwards? Or is it because I clicked on her link? Hmmm. But that doesn’t make sense either. I’m confuzzed.

So what number will you be when you view Alex Ross’s YouTube The Rest Is Noise video?

For too long, classical music has been regarded as the domain of instrumentalists, composers, academic musicologists and, typically, anyone over 40 years old. But while the majority of today’s youth would rather listen to Britney Spears’ greatest hits or watch My Chemical Romance on MTV, the view that young people are completely uninterested in classical music is not just erroneous – it’s simply not grounded in historical reality.

Mozart, widely regarded as one of the greatest classical composers of all time, wrote his first symphony at age eight and was dead by the age of 35. Schubert also died when he was 31, while Chopin famously didn’t live past the age of 39. Moreover, the phenomenon of the castrato in classical music in the 1700s shows that young people haven’t just been interested in classical music throughout the years – they’ve practically been canonised as part of a classical music tradition that, although lost, is not forgotten.

Today’s orchestras, choirs and opera houses are packed with young singers and musicians, many of whom are still in their twenties. Moreover, almost all modern, successful classical musicians will have undergone training from a very young age. Charlotte Church may have made headlines when she released her debut album “Voice of an Angel” in 1998 aged just thirteen, but while her phenomenal mainstream success was not typical, the fact that she was such a young musician in the classical industry was. (RTWT)

Does anyone else see problems in these paragraphs, or am I just a total goof? I’m willing to admit that the many things in this first part of the article that bug me might be my problem. But I do wonder. So do tell ….

22. October 2007 · Comments Off · Categories: Quotes

You can tell from Amazon reviews when a recording has really knocked people sideways. But live concerts are always better! I’m sometimes more moved by a not great but heartfelt live performance than by a world-class recording. In the hall you feel the weight of the cellos, the resonances of tones in space, the response of the crowd, all those intangibles.

-Alex Ross