21. December 2008 · Comments Off on “Cringingly Bad” · Categories: Christmas, Ouch!, Videos

So says the newscaster in the following video:

Ah, you say you want it in it’s pure, no-word form? Fine then:

21. December 2008 · Comments Off on Twentysecond Day Of Advent · Categories: Christmas, Videos, Watch

Hark the Herald Angels Sing

21. December 2008 · Comments Off on Happy Birthday, Michael Tilson Thomas · Categories: Birthdays!

I believe that music is the most important when the music stops. When a piece ends, that’s when I really measure what effect it had on me or those who heard it.

-Michael Tilson Thomas, born December 21, 1944

Here is the Maestro with SFS doing Firebird:

Part 1

Part 2

When I’m playing Nutcracker I get into the pit before nearly everyone else, and I rarely leave the pit during intermission. I’m in a location that just isn’t convenient to escape, and I prefer getting into the pit before I have to step over a bunch of people and avoid knocking over instruments. (Early on in my “pit career”, as I was maneuvering the nearly full pit, a violist plainly said to me, “Those that are in the center of the pit should enter before those who aren’t,” or some such thing. I took his advice.)

I’m usually in the pit about 30 minutes prior to the A. I have a lot to unpack what with two instruments and a number of reeds I need to dip in water. I want to warm up. I need to check a few things on the instruments, making sure an adjustment is still correct. So I have my little routine and I’m happy with it.

During intermission I usually pull out a magazine and attempt to read. I don’t do very well, because I’m frequently distracted by the “pit audience” peering at us. There are times when I think I understand how a zoo animal feels; it does sort of seem as if we are caged down there, and parents and children don’t feel at all uncomfortable pointing at us and talking loudly about what we do. Sometimes I wonder, though, about the parents. They talk louder than necessary. Are they talking to their children, or are they attempting to let us know they know what they are talking about? Hmmm.

Sometimes they ask me what I am playing. I’m fine with that, although getting into long conversations about how they played in high school and think maybe they should get back into music so they can play in our orchestra is a bit frustrating. Hearing someone marvel at the fact that we are professional musicians and actually do receive an income (no, I never divulge what I earn) is frustrating too, as they sometimes imply we should do this for free. But oh well!

Sometimes they really do know. Yesterday I got a lesson in how the harp pedals work.

Sometimes they really really really (get the idea?) don’t know. They point to an oboe and call it a clarinet. They call a bassoon an oboe. They share their knowledge loud enough that I wonder if I should look up and say, “Well, actually this is an oboe!” But I hate to disagree with a parent in front of their wide-eyed children. Hmmm. What to do, what to do?

Me? I sit there and stifle my little laugh. Who needs to embarrass a parent … right?