05. October 2007 · Comments Off on Being on Stage · Categories: Links, Other People's Words, Ramble

When I’m on stage I always feel as if everyone is staring at me. Of course the rational part of me knows that that isn’t the case. There are a lot of us up there, and I’m guessing it’s not often that someone is zoomed in on me alone. But still ….

And then I read this:

My own LSO bête noire is unlisted: on-stage nose picking (no names but u kno who ur). Every so often musicians have those ostrich moments where they’re not looking at the audience, and don’t realise that out of a thousand pairs of eyes, there’s a fair chance at least one will be trained on them. Being tucked away behind the cellos (clue) is no protection. Get a handkerchief!


Yikes! Double yikes! So we ARE being seen as separate individuals. Rats. But at least I’ve never been caught doing that! (I do have a tendency to push my hair back and “reset” my glasses a lot.)

I was just thinking about the differences between various creators of art.

When I musical is starting out, I know that the creators watch for audience reactions, and they will tweak and cut and add and change … even to a point where the final product is pretty darn different. When a movie is made, they do this thing with audiences; they have them preview them (sometimes even with ending choices) and they tweak and change and satisfy an audience. Composers of “classical” music? I know they might tweak, but I don’t know that they take the audience response too terribly seriously. A visual artist? Do they care about “audience” reaction?

I’m sure others have thought about this a lot. It’s just hitting me, how some things have to be altered to satisfy the crowds, while other things are what they are and the viewer/listener can take it or leave it.

So does a director of a film, or a composer of a musical, feel as if his or her heart is cut out when then have to change what they thought of as wonderful to satisfy the average joe? Do they feel dishonest? Do they feel as if they’ve sold out?

How much should a creator cater to the (paying) people? Does it all come down to money? Survival?

Just thinking out loud here. I’m not even ready to say what I think, since I’m not sure that I know what I think!

I’m not even sure I think!

05. October 2007 · Comments Off on It’s not THIS musician’s dream … · Categories: Links, Quotes, Ramble, Read!

The truth of the matter is that Wagner and Mahler and Bruckner would love to have played this loud – I guarantee you. It’s like having access to your own nuclear weapon or something. It’s a musician’s dream.

-Glenn Branca

Branca is talking about his very loud symphony written for 100 electric guitars. You can read the entire article and see what you think.

Now 100 oboes? Um. No. That wouldn’t be my dream either. Go figure.

05. October 2007 · Comments Off on How Never To Worry About Reeds Again · Categories: Links, Read!

Become a conductor!

I didn’t realize Sir Charles Mackerras was an oboist before he became a conductor. Now I know.

When Marin Alsop conducted the opening concert for Baltimore Symphony Orchestra there was a lot of press. (There are plenty more links if you check google.) She even received a standing O at the beginning of the concert. She was, after all, the first woman conductor of a major symphony orchestra. But I guess Buffalo isn’t happy.

Oh yeah. Joanne Falletta.

But, well, there is major and then there’s major. I guess.

Is there a specific ranking order of symphony orchestras out there? That we can trust? And who determines that anyway? Is there anyone who has heard all the professional orchestras in the US? Doubtful. Does the Top Five even count any more? (Neither Baltimore nor Buffalo are on that list.)

05. October 2007 · Comments Off on Just a bit more on the opera … · Categories: Ramble, San Francisco Symphony

So no more reviewing or commenting on the San Francisco Opera performance itself. This is a review of the audience and hall. 😉

  • Someone(s) brought a baby. Really. Cried. In. Third. Act. (Who are these people!?)
  • The two women next to us brought in their bottle of beer and glass of wine for the second act. No garlic fries, though.
  • They had also had their cigarettes during the intermission. I hate cigarette smell, but I tried to behave myself and not go “Ick!” I’m nice that way. 😉
  • The same women asked me, after Act 2, “Is it over now?” I answered in the negative, but they left anyway.
  • There was some sort of noise that bugged me at times. Was it outside? It sounded “rumbly”. (I guess I’m overly sensitive. When I went to San Francisco Symphony there was an awful inside noise. It was either fans or lights. Drove me bonkers.)
  • People don’t seem to think opening candy (or whatever) wrappers is annoying. Except when they do. Then they open them as sloooowly and noisily as possible.
  • An usher, as we were leaving, was just too cute. He repeated, non-stop, “Thank you for coming, I hope you enjoyed the opera.” Or at least something like that. Thing is, it was repeated so that you heard it three times or so as you walked out. He made me smile. Part of me wanted to reassure him that, yes, I really did enjoy it.

    So there you go. That’s the thing about a live audience, yes? I don’t get to hand pick them. I’m not sure why, though. Perhaps I’ll talk to the Mr. Gockley about it. Surely he’d like me to do that. And I won’t charge a penny.

  • 05. October 2007 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: Quotes

    Yes, and the changes happen far too slow for my taste! Just take the formal attire worn by musicians..around 1870, 1880 a comparatively normal article of clothing. Today it isolates the musicians from its public. Why not also wear a wig! …to go to a concert is like going to the museum in order to look at a conserved body.

    -Pierre Boulez (