I read the comments at Lynn’s site and of course that causes me to think more on this whole topic of symphonies and what sort of changes we’ll be seeing.

Some have said we should nix our black clothes. I wouldn’t mind seeing the guys in something other than tails. I just don’t want my black taken away! I love wearing black because it’s easy; I don’t have to think long and hard about what I’m going to wear, it doesn’t cost a lot, and I can “mix and match”. And it doesn’t make the stage look cluttered and distracting. So please let me hang on to my black!

Some think we should be less formal. There does seem to be a wall between the audience and performer. We used to be told we weren’t allowed to go to the edge of the stage and converse with audience members; that was considered tacky or some such thing. I think talking to audience members can be a gas, and it’s good for them to know we are “just folks”. They don’t always get that … but maybe they don’t want to. But what if we had little informal chats by those of us who are willing to do that? I’d be happy to talk to audience members on occasion. (Yes, I’m an introvert, but that doesn’t mean I don’t start to talk if you hand me a microphone — just try and stop me!) But would that ruin some audience members images of us?

Sidebar: Once a woman came up to me at a reception and said “Oh, I just can’t imagine what you were thinking when you were playing that symphony! You must be in another world. It must seem like heaven!” — or words similar anyway — and then she proceeded to tell me where she was and if I’m recalling correctly she was taken to a desert somewhere. I’m not sure why. I wanted to tell her I was trying to decide if I would have my typical bowl of Cheerios when I got home, or if I felt more like a beer. I didn’t say that though; some audience members want to hang on to their illusions and I’m not one to destroy them. Although by writing this I’ve probably ruined so many readers’ images of me.

But I ramble. (Duh.)

The other thing I wonder … and maybe this is a foolish wondering … is what will happen to my performance if things are changed. If we have a different “feel” and things are less formal, will I relax too much? Will my performance become less that it has been? Sometimes being relaxed can do me harm. I need a bit of the stress I guess. Not TOO much, of course, but I need something … it gives me energy and edge.

There’s so much to think about when it comes to concerts and how to improve them without losing something special or diminishing the music.

Now as to the audience dressing up: I honestly don’t care. I enjoy opera opening nights because we pit folk ooh and aah over all the clothing (and we may laugh a bit too), but I really don’t care what someone wears. I’d prefer that everyone be comfortable. It’s a long sit sometimes. Come in your robe and slippers, for all I care! Shoot … maybe that’s what our new dress code should be: a black robe and furry black slippers. Hmmmm.

What a long ramble. Can anyone spot a procrastinator in the room? Reeds, they be a’callin’. Me? I be ignorin’.

23. February 2005 · Comments Off on Ranting Can Be Good For You · Categories: imported, Ramble

… and, if I like what you write or say, it can be good for me too!

I liked this rant of Lynn’s.

This part cracked me up:

Tell me, why is it that only classical music is expected to change in order to please people who only might be interested in it if it was more “friendly”? Maybe more city people would like country music if they would ban cowboy hats and quit singing about divorce and cheating and old dogs and pickup trucks. How come no one’s pushing for that? Because if they did all that it wouldn’t be country music anymore. DUH! But I guess country music has no lack of fans especially the modern pop-country stuff.

At the same time, though, we have to think about survival! Our audience is looking a bit … well … old. So we need to get some new audience members. Some young’uns. I honestly think that if a lot of younger people would just listen to a concert or two they just might find they can get hooked on the “stuff”. Sometimes, when I hear a high schooler say “I hate classical music” I start naming a good number of soundtracks. When I went to play for an elementary school once I asked how many had hear the kind of music I played. No one. Then I asked how many watched Bugs Bunny cartoons. They all giggled and raised their hands. I told them “Then you have heard the kind of music I play!” A few days later they came to one of our “kiddie concerts”. They all had to wave to me and I could tell that they were enjoying themselves, since I’d told them what to listen for. They also knew about the most important section in the orchestra so they knew where to look too!

Okay … I’m kidding about that last thing. We aren’t always the most important section in the orchestra. Take, for instance, Mozart’s Requiem or his 39th symphony.

23. February 2005 · Comments Off on Music Quote · Categories: imported, Quotes

The basic sound of my instrument, my voice, was that of a gentle oboe. it
had to be gradually amplified. I had to find more resonance to make it broader.
And this can of course, only be the result of long, painstaking work because
the instrument of the voice is invisible. One has to discover the correct
feelings to solve the technical problems and assimilate the process.

-Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau