19. May 2005 · Comments Off on Follow the Orchestra · Categories: imported, Links

If you visit this blog you can follow the Philadelphia Orchestra’s tour of Asia as a number of participants will be blogging. (I wish they’d provided bios of all the bloggers, but oh well!)

19. May 2005 · Comments Off on Why I Don’t Have Music On All The Time · Categories: imported, Ramble

From this:

I have a terrible confession to make. For many years I was a person who often would put on instrumental music as I read, did laundry or did some sort of work. I could never use vocal music, singer that I am I could never concentrate with it on, but orchestral or piano music could easily serve as background music for just about any activity.

Of course, as a result, I never heard any of it. It was just there. But recently things have changed. I can no longer listen to any music and not hear it. I find I can no longer read and have music on because I am always distracted by the music. These days, I ‘m getting a lot of enjoyment from purely instrumental (non-vocal) concerts and changing the ratio of vocal to non-vocal music in my life.

I used to put background music a lot as well. Sometimes a symphonic work, sometimes a singer. Anything, really. I would even put something on and then vacuum! Geesh.

I think it had something to do with laziness. Not lazy as in “she never gets anything done and her house is a mess!” but as in “lazy listener.”

Listening takes not only time, but energy. True listening, that is.

More on this later. Maybe.

19. May 2005 · Comments Off on Reviewing the Review of the Review …? · Categories: imported, Ramble

Are you scratching your head now? About the subject header, I mean?


Anyway, I sometimes read Paul Cantrell’s Comparing Notes and the subject of his recent blog is Reviewing the Review so maybe you can see where I’m coming from.

If not don’t worry; we all have our moments.

The little “teaser”, on his main page, prior to reaching the actual blog says this:

OK, one more entry on Mahler 6, and then I promise I’ll shut up about it. I often dislike the reviews Michael Anthony writes for the STrib. Something inspired me, though, to see what the STrib had to say about the Mahler concert I just saw twice.

I can’t tell you how many people say they are going to see concerts. And I know they are seeing … but I’m always bugged that they don’t use the verb hear. Call me silly. Call me ridiculous. Call me someone who italicizes far too often. Call me what you want (but send reeds. Please.)

His blog is a fun little read. I would love to always have a review of the reviewer a day after the review is in the paper … now wouldn’t that be fun? I would love an honest review of the reviewer; one that might even agree (horrors!) with some of the criticism if it’s justly deserved. One that can also tell the reviewer when he or she got it awfully wrong. One that might even point out things the reviewer should have commented upon but didn’t (the good and the bad). But of course I wouldn’t be willing to write it because it could easily come back to haunt me. Ah well.

Oh … and Mr. Cantrell writes one thing that brings back memories:

The orchestra did not merely applaud him [referring to the conductor]; they actually refused to stand when he motioned them to take their bow, forcing him to take another by himself.

Heh. When it’s real that’s fine and dandy. We, however, used to do this for every single performance and it sure got old. And meaningless. Shoot, we refused to stand for some not-so-great concerts with some not-so-great, or even embarrassing, conductors. Some where we should have shot the conductor. Or at least booed him. But as far as the audience was concerned we were in love with all the conductors we worked with, and worshiped the ground they walked on.

We are, after all, good actors. Sometimes.

Recently, I’m happy to stay, we’ve stopped this practice. Maybe because of the death of San Jose Symphony (RIP). Maybe we are now too old and jaded. Or maybe being burned and now attempting to rise again from the ashes after much pain has made us a wee bit pickier about whom we applaud. I dunno. I don’t care. I’m just glad we no longer stay seated and smile graciously, acting as if the conductor was a wonder, when in truth he or she was just so-so and we worked our you-know-whats off to make the concert a success. (I could tell you about concerts we’ve rescued from an incompetent conductor. But I probably won’t. I can promise you I’d certainly never name names. I’m not that stupid!) But at least a conductor we do give a “sitting orchestral ovation” (heh … shall I trademark that one? I think maybe.) to should know it’s much more real than it used to be.