28. December 2007 · Comments Off on Too Funny · Categories: Ramble, Videos, Watch

Okay, I’ll admit it: I like weird things, and I like funny shows, and I like parodies. And I have a strange sense of humor in some people’s minds. So when Jameson brought home a DVD of Flight of the Conchords I was drawn in pretty darn fast. Especially with I’m not cryin’.

Sibelius gave the call of the swan to a rarely-encountered instrument, the English horn – which is actually a variant of the oboe. The choice is perfect, as the calls of the swan are stark and chilly.

Um. I don’t understand. Is the writer suggesting that the English horn is stark and chilly? Do tell!

I love The Swan of Tuonela though. I’ve performed it twice and the second time I was even happy with my playing, and I have a copy of the performance and I still like it! (I often like a performance of mine only until I hear myself and then I’m not happy. Go figure.)

I was looking up the Bach Cantata #82. Lo and behold, one movement is listed as “Ich babe genug” by both iTunes and emusic.com.

Yes. I laughed.

So do we translate that as “I’m enough babe”, ya think?

Jason Heath (also of Jason Heath’s Double Bass Blog) writes about 10 Wacky Things he’s witnessed going on in a pit.

So … have I witnessed all of this behavior? Let’s see ….

1. Watching TV…in the pit!
Have I seen it? Yep. The offender was a brass player, and a sub at that! An audience member came down during intermission and asked if he could have the score to the game, and if he could watch. Sigh.

2. Showing up drunk…really drunk
Have I seen it? Yep. I’ve even dealt with that one on stage. I told the offender if it ever happened again that would be IT. (Whatever “it” could possibly mean, since I have no clout!)

3. Carrying on loud conversations during concerts
Have I seen it? Yep. And heard it. And tried not to take part in it. (Sometimes it’s so difficult to not respond so as not to appear rude … I’m wimpy that way. Although I never talk loudly. I hope.)

4. Yelling during concerts
Have I seen it? Yep. And once it was yelling into a microphone. Some musicians are entirely clueless.

5. Arguing in the pit
Have I seen it? Yep. Swearing too.

6. Obvious magazine reading or other non-musical activity
Have I seen it? Yep. I have a rule for myself: if the audience can see me, I must stop. If I miss even one entrance, I must stop. Period. So I’ve stopped doing this, except on the occasional musical theater gig when we have a 15 minute pause or something. I simply don’t feel involved musically when I read, and I want to feel involved. Even with Nutcracker. I bring magazines, and I read during intermission, but I have stopped reading during ballets and operas completely. It just feels wrong to me. Some folks have no problem with it. As long as they aren’t seen and never miss an entrance I’m okay with it.

7. Dancing in the pit
Have I seen it? No. Actually this is one I’ve never seen. Ever. Whew!

8. Angry gestures and hand waving
Have I seen it? Yep. Not a lot, though.

9. Improvising out of boredom
Have I seen it? Yep. Seen it, heard it, hate it. There is no excuse in my book for this one. I don’t care how bored someone is; the people in the audience are paying to hear the right music, not someone’s improvisational goofiness. It ticks me off like you wouldn’t believe.

10. Musical Sabotage
Have I seen it? Well, I think so. I sometimes wonder if someone is doing something deliberately or if they are really just that horrible at the moment. I suspect the former. Either way, it’s not good.

Now … I will tattle a bit. But only on myself.

I used to be clueless. I did embroidery in the pit! Really. In the pit. Crocheting too. And someone told me I used to make jewelry there as well (I had forgotten that one). Sigh. I look back on this in such embarrassment. What the heck was I thinking? At one point a friend came down to the pit to ask me what I was making, so it was obviously seen by other audience members as well. One day I dumped my entire case of floss on to the floor. I believe that was the day I realized I shouldn’t be doing that! Duh.

I also used to read books and magazines in a very visible way. Someone came down to ask me what book I was reading. So that stopped. Maybe I’m older and wiser. Or maybe I’m just aware that I’m too easily distracted to do this stuff and manage to play well at this older age. Who knows? But I try, these days, to make good music, and when I’m not playing I want to enjoy the good music other people make. For me that’s the best way to deal with pit work.

How could it not be dark when someone says, ‘I’m going to bake you in an oven and eat you”?

-Alice Coote (Hansel, in the Met’s Hansel and Gretel by Humperdinck)

Well, yes, it does seem rather dark, eh? The quote above is from this article The opera will be in movie theatres on January 1. Go here to start the search for locations near you. (It will be simulcast here, at a Santana Row’s CineArts 6 Theatre, at 10:00 AM, as well as some other nearby theatres. Click here for the local info in San Jose.) I haven’t purchased a ticket yet, but I’m definitely considering going. Anyone else out there planning on this?

I’ve never sat in the audience for this opera (it’s not on my top ten list or anything), although I’ve played it. Opera San José did it years ago. If I’m remembering correctly we did back-to-back shows, too, which was grueling, especially since they reduced the orchestra and I was the lone oboe. I don’t remember much, but I remember my mouth was a wee bit tired at the end!