06. October 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Links, pattyRant

As a musician — as an artist — probably the most important thing is surprising people.

-student from the UC Davis marching band (heard on the evening news)

Read more about the issue here.

The marching band (and I would think they’d have something up at their site at least defending what appears to be horrendous behavior) site is here.

If all that is reported is true I just hope I never see any of them in my places of work. I really don’t want to work with people who think that is acceptable behavior.

06. October 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Havin' Fun, Opera, Videos, Watch

I guess it can grow on you.

I think I might have chosen a different opera chorus, but what do I know? I’ll have to ponder what might be more fun to put with fungus releasing spores. Anyone have a suggestion?

06. October 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Listen, Videos, Watch

I can’t say why — can I ever? — but this music always hits my heart. So I’m sharing with you. Just because.

06. October 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Links, Movies, Ramble

The film’s unrehearsed style extended to its use of music. Demme had long wanted to “provide the musical dimension of a movie without traditionally scored music.” And as it turned out, Rachel is getting married to a music producer. And Rachel’s father is a music industry bigwig.

Demme reasoned that the wedding weekend — taking place at the family home — would be a congregation of musicians playing more or less nonstop for 72 hours. He enlisted friends — New Orleans-born jazz saxophonist Donald Harrison and Palestinian violin virtuoso Zafer Tawil — to compose the score and play it on the spot while Demme shot the movie.

I actually am interested in seeing this movie (Not that I ever actually go see movies. But I have a list of the ones I want to see. That’s about as close as I usually get!). But … musicians … heh … we sometimes like silence. And if we are talking, many of us prefer no background music. Music requires listening.

And can you imagine musicians playing “more or less nonstop for 72 hours”? Yikes! Of course the musicians in the movie aren’t playing “classical” music, so maybe folks who play jazz and Arabic music actually do play all day and night. I can’t speak for those genres. Heck, I can only speak for myself. And even then I sometimes get it wrong. :-)

06. October 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: BQOD

They say that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” That what is beautiful to one person is insignificant to another, and I would agree that that is true in many cases.

But, I would also make the argument that there are some things which are universally beautiful. Why is that? What is it about a certain snapshot, person or event that can touch many people, and not just a few?

I had the opportunity to attend The Bonesetter’s Daughter at San Francisco Opera last week. Based on the Amy Tan novel of the same name, this brand new opera was commissioned by the SFO and expertly incorporated elements of traditional Chinese opera and theater with western-style opera music. The result was phenominal. Going into the evening, I was a little skeptical (as I am wont to be where modern opera is concerned), but after the prologue, I was hooked.

I had read so many blog entries by opera goers who disliked — even hated — the opera. So I found this post quite interesting!

06. October 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Links, Ramble

The audience for live classical music, theater and dance is, like, dying.

Or, like, maybe not.

That said, Scorca is among many who cite two logical reasons for a noticeable lack of young adults in all seats. Quite simply, ticket prices can be steep — and even if they have the money, young people often don’t have the time. People in their 20s, he says, are late-night clubbing or off on ski weekends. The question for them is seldom, “Dude, where’s my ‘Carmen’?” And people in their 30s may be consumed with toddlers and careers.

More highbrow entertainment doesn’t generally get on the agenda “until someone on this trajectory gets to be in their mid-40s, when the kids are old enough to leave on their own and the knees won’t take the skiing and they want to be home by 11 o’clock at night,” Scorca says.

(May I tell you I absolutely hate “highbrow” being used there. Sigh.)

Full article here.

This is the first year Dan and I have ever bought season tickets to anything. This year we have San Francisco Opera season tickets. And I love it! We finally have the time (even if we don’t really have the $$) and we made it happen. I suspect others are in a similar situation. So yeah, the audience has a lot of old people. If 51 is old. It doesn’t feel old. At least not most of the time.

To be honest, I’m not sure the money is much of a factor; younger people do go to rock concerts and I hear those tickets can be rather steep too. Hmmm. Searching … searching … The Who concert: tickets range from $39.50 to $350. Madonna: $55 to $350. Coldplay, less expensive: $39.50 to $89.50. New York Philharmonic lists the concert I checked as $26 to $72.

That kind of makes it seem as if money isn’t the issue, you know?

Now I will admit Dan and I aren’t your “typical” customer, since both of us are in music. But still, I do believe other people start going to these things when they find they finally have the time to spare, are not as into the party stuff, and do begin to have the desire to hear something other than rock. It can happen. And maybe they like to sit down too. And yes, not everyone will like the opera or symphony and will continue to attend other kinds of concerts. I’m just not as freaked over the “we are dying” thing. Maybe it’s the one place where I’m not a pessimist, eh? I save that for reeds, anyway.

Eek! I’m showing my age! If I were younger I would have typed “anyways”. ;-)

I watched a Quicktime video of a very good oboe player. One who recently won an audition. And I looked at the embouchure. I see absolutely no speck of the reed, only the thread is visible.

I frequently say “less reed!” to students. “Corners forward,” my students will recognize. “Think “oooh” or ü!” They’ve heard ‘em all.

And now I’m thinking I need to lay off of that. If this excellent oboist swallows the reed (and really, the oboist is swallowing the thing) who am I to say, “less reed!” Right?

But I really do want to see the reed that oboist is playing on. There is no way I could take the whole reed in my mouth and make a decent sound. Absolutely no way.

So what I want to know from you reeders out there: do you swallow the reed? Can you see any of the cane at all? Am I a total nutcase, thinking less reed is a good thing?

Yes, I have been in this biz since the 70s. Yes, I should just shut up and trust I know what I’m doing. And yes, I still doubt myself.

I’m not a great fan of Lloyd Webber’s. He doesn’t need me to be a fan. Believe me. John Williams is without question talented. He writes very good scores and very good melodies and all that. But, no, of the others … You know, when I hear Titanic – James Horner – which was a huge hit, it’s the same 16 bars played 185 times. It’s not interesting.

-André Previn

I read it here.