It’s December and the TQODs and other quotes will wait until 2014 now. It’s time. I will feature my typical Christmas music here, and any news I think I should share but some things will just have to wait to appear. It’s time to celebrate the birth.
Kenneth Woods has brought folks to task for continually reporting about the “dissing” of female composers. He suggests, instead, that journalists “write a feature article profiling at least 20 to 30 women conductors working today.”
A very good thing to do!
(But I would also say that while I think he has an excellent idea, it’s still quite important to report on the negative issues women continue to deal with. I think reporting the Good Stuff is great, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t acknowledge the Bad.)
I am happy to say that conductor Barbara Day Turner, of San Jose Chamber Orchestra, is featuring a different female composer each day on the San Jose Chamber Orchestra Facebook page. What a wonderful idea!
I think I’ll feature women conductors here when I find something I can share. This is a YouTube video and I really hope it’s okay to share it. I’m getting even more leery of YouTube videos: they suggested one of my goofy little videos wasn’t legal, and yet I see so much there that I question. Funny how that goes.
This is an interview with Susanna Mälkki, put up by the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Since someone on Facebook (hi Woody!) brought up a song I’d never heard, “Flag of the Free, Fairest to See,” I just had to look to see if it was in an old song book we have.
Yep, it’s there.
And while looking through the book I (after all these years) read the Forward:
Heh. This book came out in 1909. I guess we have always thought of the current popular stuff as “less than”, eh?
And yes, most of the songs in “Songs That Never Grow Old” have … well … grown old.
Some nice classical music on the call to lull the analysts into asking well-mannered softball questions. Very peaceful. Waiting for the call that leads up with “Welcome to the Jungle.”
Because we are always well-mannered if we hear nice classical music!
I just read a blog — I actually posted a quote here first but then took it down, as I realized folks could search on it and fine the blog — where a choir director at a church wrote about a “Problem Child” publicly, and in a very negative way. She was glad he didn’t show up to a rehearsal. She was glad he hadn’t received the reminder the day before (did she not send it, I wonder?) An earlier blog post had a full paragraph about the trouble he causes.
Okay now … this is from a church choir director’s public blog. Sigh.
I am sure he is a difficult child, from all she wrote. I’m sure she has to deal with a lot of junk because of that. But I’m also sure she didn’t have to write about it so everyone could read it. Maybe I’m being overly cautious. Maybe I’m being overly picky. But oh well … “that’s just the way I am,” to quote my dear daddy.
I have, in the past, put up funny quote (very seldom, though). If I do that, I tell the student, because the reason something goes up is that I think it is very funny, clever, or astute. But I will never publicly call a student a “Problem Child”, nor do I have any I consider to be that … some are challenges, to be sure, but in all honesty I often find the challenging students the most fun! Sometimes my only goal with a student is to get her to laugh. Sometimes the only goal is to get him to learn to focus. My goals change as time progresses, too. I love that about teaching: every student is different. Every student changes and grows.
If I was to blog about students in such a negative manner you can bet that blog (or journal) would be set to private and only I would be able to read it. Even that is risky. As far as I’m concerned nothing online is truly private. Ever.
I’ve made mistakes on this blog. I’ve written things and either been told off or read something myself later in the day and quickly pulled it down because I was embarrassed by what I wrote. Heck, maybe I’ll even pull this down. But really, I hope I’ve learned to be more careful. And kinder. I think I can always be kinder.
… I’m sure it’s all because of the shampoo! Do you want “strong hair”?
MANILA, Philippines – Strong, beautiful hair is always a sight to behold. Now it can be used to make music – literally.
On Thursday, October 17, Cream Silk will stage “Hair Sonata: The World’s First-Ever Hair Symphony Orchestra.” The spectacle is headlined by a 10-member, all-female string ensemble that uses Asia’s first Hair Bows.
To prove the strength of hair that goes #BeyondBeautiful, an internationally renowned bow maker crafted these bows using actual human hair, treated with Cream Silk.
Maestro Gerard Salonga of the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra will compose and conduct the symphonies for the night.
I read it here.
Well, it made me laugh!
This past week Symphony Silicon Valley had our opening concerts. I really wasn’t terribly nervous about the solos in Symphonie Fantastique prior to rehearsals: the solos are in a range that doesn’t make me fret. There are no low note attacks. There is nothing to worry about. They are the type of solos that “fit” me. So I’m happy to play them.
Except that the first notes of the solo are, according the part, the first notes I play on English horn!
But not really. I play a few notes in the second movement when no one can hear. It’s just an “I want to be safe” kind of thing. I honestly think I could get away without playing any, but I don’t want to stress out!
After rehearsal number one, though, I did begin to get nervous. I guess it’s just my way! I wasn’t stressed out. I wasn’t so nervous I was fearful. It was just that usually nerve kind of thing. No biggie. But ear worms galore. (Miraculously they are GONE today!)
The first half of the concert had nothing stressful for me at all. I was on second oboe, and both works had nothing worrisome. They were just fun. I like that. It’s like being on near-vacation or something.
Of course I wondered what the reviewer would think, but I thought I played well. I especially thought my solos on Saturday night were good. So whether the reviewer(s) liked what I did or not, I wasn’t too concerned. Turns out the reviewer for the Mercury News didn’t think anything at all about what I did. At least not enough to mention my name in the review. Again, I’m just not all that concerned, so I wasn’t upset. Honest. (I know some folks worried that I might be. Nope.) I guess I’ve grown up enough that I’m learning to trust what I think about my performance.
Some were also concerned that I would be upset about missing a solo bow one performance. Nope. That didn’t bug me either. Conductors are so busy and have so much on their plates, that forgetting a player can happen (besides, one person attending insisted I was given a bow and I didn’t take it!). A solo bow just doesn’t really matter to me. Again, I’m being quite honest about this.
Maybe I’m finally growing up!
In any case, I will publicly say I believe I played well. I was content with my performance. I am a happy camper.
Well, except I don’t camp!
Since my “TQOD” today was quite questionable, I thought I should remind people that these are “Twitter Quotes of the Day” and NOT my words! I suppose maybe I should always have that at the bottom of the TQODs. People might be wondering about me if they don’t know what these are. Hmm ….
I doubt the conversation about concert etiquette will ever completely go away. I struggle with what I think, to be be honest. If we shush newbies, we quite possibly are letting them know they don’t belong. We need new audience members. We need younger audience members. Heck, we just need an audience and these days I’m seeing lots of empty seats. But if we “allow” crazy noise it sends some of the tried and true audience members away. If we allow talking, as they do at certain new venues, I feel as if we are saying listening is secondary to watching. I think it’s tricky. I think it will always be tricky.
Yet I hate being distracted from great music by careless noise. At worst, it can fundamentally change the fate of a performance, like when Mitsuko Uchida played Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto in Edinburgh last month and was interrupted seconds before the opening chord by a loud clatter. She was visibly startled, had to reposition her hands over the keyboard, and never seemed to fully regain her focus.
Robin Ticciati, principal conductor of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and future music director of Glyndebourne, takes a pragmatic view. “True silence is something special to be celebrated,” he says, “and yes, hearing a mobile phone is irritating. But I can’t let that kind of thing impact my performance. And we shouldn’t be too uptight here – what if that phone belongs to someone who has never been to a concert before and was so excited they forgot to turn it off?” When a phone rang between songs in Veronique Gens’s Edinburgh recital, she just joked: “Ceci n’est pas Duparc.”
Marc Minkowski held his left hand out behind him to shush up the loud coughers in Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony with Les Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble at the Usher Hall. It was a clever move, but surely meant that part of his attention was diverted to crowd control rather than to the score.
There’s a hefty list of conundrums when it comes to audience etiquette. Why is it OK to read a programme or a score, when doing so on a smart phone or tablet would be unacceptable? Is head-bopping and air-conducting an honest response to a compelling performance, or an uncouth distraction? Why is it permissible to shout “bravo” after an opera aria but not after a flash concerto cadenza? Perhaps there’s only really one rule: relax, enjoy the concert – but don’t distract those around you.