The University of Southern Maine’s resident composer, Daniel Sonenberg, has been named the recipient of a prestigious national grant that will be used to produce the world-premiere concert performance of his opera on the life of Josh Gibson, Negro League baseball great.
The Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony are betting that their respective hometown teams will win the World Series.
The two sides have agreed that the winning city’s orchestra will receive a shipment of iconic culinary delights from the loser.
What they haven’t decided is what specific kind of food or foods it will be.
Both the DSO and the SFS are asking people to offer their suggestions via the orchestras’ Facebook pages and Twitter feeds.
Detroit Symphony music director Leonard Slatkin says that “in the spirit of friendly competition, the DSO is challenging our colleagues in the San Francisco Symphony for bragging rights and spoils in the orchestral World Series.”
Classical music is also about the keeping of an intense set of records and statistics. It is about a reverence for the giants of the past, and a constant measurement of what is happening now against what has come before. We hear a Beethoven symphony at the New York Philharmonic and it is in instant contact with all the other live performances of it we have ever heard, with all the things we have ever thought about it, with the legendary recordings of Toscanini, von Karajan and Kleiber. My German grandmother compared every musical experience she had — unfavorably, in fact — to what she remembered hearing Hans Knappertsbusch conduct back in the old country when she was young.
The past is always present.
It turns out that classical music fans do a lot of the same remembering and measuring as baseball fans. Both baseball and classical music have a great sense of history, a tremendous respect for the past, and a slew of nerdy people like me who want to know all the details. Both are made of people who argue passionately with each other about who was the greatest. We handicap our favorite composers and performers, we buy 20 recordings of the same piece just to be able to argue about interpretations. We want to know as much about where we have been as we can.
A new first for me–had to hold curtain 7 minutes until the Giants finally won because the whole audience was watching the score on their cell phones. LOL But what a night–Giants in the World Series and Frank Sinatra Junior on my stage! :-)
I know, I know, it’s not oboe related. But hey, I found out that the Giants won the penant while sitting in the pit, so that counts for something, right?
I had to leave home when we were still tied, 2-2. Shortly before downbeat Uribe hit a home run, putting us ahead 3-2. But then the phone had to go off; we can’t have them even on silent because they cause problems with the sound (and while some scoff at that I once left my phone on silent and I did hear the speaker by the conductor — set up for him to hear the silly electronic voices we use in Nutcracker — make those funny sounds that they make when a phone is nearby). So the phone went off. And I had to concentrate on my job and making music and not be thinking about the game the entire time. (This is why, even if we were allowed to have our phones on, I’d have to turn mine off; I find it a distraction and I don’t need that!) But the minute we finished the first act it was right back on and … woo hoo! … we won!
The Giants won the penant! The Giants won the penant! The Giants won the penant!
One ballet tomorrow. Then I must concentrate very seriously on … well … the World Series!
So … we finished the first set of symphony. I was on English horn for the Mahler. Very few notes. Very exposed. And I did okay. Maybe I even did fine. Heck, maybe I even did well. Who knows? I sure never do!
Nathan Gunn was great. I could listen to that voice of him forever, I think. Such an incredible, beautiful, warm sound. Loved, loved, loved it! As did the audience.
Here’s a little Gunn & Bell for you:
I also played assistant principal oboe on both the Schumann first symphony and Beethoven’s seventh. Playing assistant (“AP”) is a nice change; no stress, really! What AP does is allow the principal oboist to have a bit of a break. We do this when the parts have so many notes with very few rests. It’s not done very frequently, but this set did really call for it and I was happy to get to do it; when I have so little to play, as I did with the Mahler, playing AP helps me feel more involved in the concert. So I’m grateful. (Thanks, PH!)
While we were performing today the Giants were playing what I hoped would be their last game before they moved on to the playoffs. Owning an iPhone meant I could check the score right before we started the concert, during intermission, and immediately following the concert. I will not, however, have the iPhone on during a performance. It was tempting, believe me, but I will not enter the world of the performer who is online while working. I’m a good girl, I am! (Name that show.)
Good news, though. The Giants are in the playoffs.
It’s quite true what they say about the Giants, though. TORTURE!
Dan has posted a series of pictures from Così that are mighty nice. Check ‘em out. He’ll have more later, I think.
I hope the event becomes an annual sort of thing. I hope I’m invited back, too. It was such fun.
Of course not everyone thinks it’s a good idea. A friend and colleague (who also says my blog is self-indulgent) thought it was an awful thing … the tweeting, the casualness … ah well. Can’t win ‘em all, eh? I guess I won’t be seeing him at the AT&T ballpark* then, for the Opera in the Ballpark event. I’ll sure be there. I’m already dreaming of those garlic fries.
*I have yet to get to a game this year! Might this be the only day I manage to get to the park this year? Will I not see “my” Giants? That would be weird.