05. April 2009 · Comments Off on Ballet Begone, Now To Carmen · Categories: Ballet, Links, Opera, Ramble, Symphony

Okay … I don’t really mean to dismiss ballet in any sort of harsh way. I just thought it sounded a wee bit Shakespearean to put it that way and it was A Midsummer Night’s Dream, after all.

Yeah, trying to hard to be cute, I’m sure. So sorry! Sort of.

So we are finished with ballet and I have two days before the start of Opera San José’s Carmen rehearsals.

Even with no playing work for two whole days I’m plenty busy, what with students and all. In addition I really need to get some new reeds up and running, and I need to figure out what I’ll be playing for a Good Friday service.

And … woo hoo! … this is a week that includes a Giants game and a San Francisco Symphony concert.


05. April 2009 · Comments Off on Horse Sense? · Categories: Huh?, Links, News

Rosemary Greenway has been playing passages of opera and orchestral symphonies on the radio to the animals at her stables for more than 20 years, convinced that it helps soothe them.

While not all of her staff are quite as fond of the output of Classic FM as she is, Mrs Greenway, 62, kept the radio tuned to the station religiously while mucking out because of the apparent benefits.

But she has dropped the practice after being told that she must pay a £99 annual licence fee as it constitutes a “performance”.

I read this first on a blog that posted it on April Fool’s and thought maybe it was a joke. But this article came out earlier.

“I personally tend to see the beauty in each of the various arts as being unique to each,” said Morgan. “So paintings do not usually suggest music to me. Nor does music suggest poetry. My aesthetics are more compartmentalized.”

I’m with Maestro Morgan. But it seems that people now talk about adding video or photography to concerts in order to keep people entertained. I do remember a woman saying her son’s reaction to a symphony concert was, “It was okay, but there was nothing to look at.”

Listening can be such a yawner, right?

Anyway, the work Maestro Morgan is conducting is by Dave and Chris Brubeck, and Sacramento Philharmonic will be playing it. (It was commissioned by six orchestras.)

You can read all about it here.

And speaking of Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra, they have a YouTube page. I wish SSV would get something up and running like that. Of course we don’t have a music director, but what about a “get to know the guest conductor” or “get to know the musicians” type of thing. Hmmm. Just a thought.

From the YouTube link:

The most important thing to remember about contemporary music, well, two important things to remember. First of all, no one … no one likes everything and so you have permission to not like it. It could be that you don’t like it or you might like it, but you’re better going into the performance thinking well I’ll see if I like it. And then you decide at the end whether you like it or not.

It helps to have the composer present and we have pre-concert talks before each concert to talk about the piece of music and generally the composer’s there to explain what he or she was trying to do, so if you come an hour early and you see that pre-concert talk it gives you a much better idea what’s going to happen but even then the idea is that the composer tells you what he or she was trying to achieve and then you get to decide how successful they were.

The other thing about contemporary music that you need to remember is that every generation in terms of what’s great and what’s not, every generation got has gotten it wrong. All the time.

[…] Leave your mind open, see if you like it, and then later generations will decide whether it was great or not.

-Michael Morgan

And here you can hear the woodwind quintet playing (that’s Tom Nugent on oboe). I’m sure some of my students will recognize that music!

Okay, enough of me. I should be resting. The cough is a bit worse today, rather than better, and I do not want to cough my way through today’s matinee!

05. April 2009 · Comments Off on BQOD · Categories: Books

I went with my cousin and his girlfriend to a performance by the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra of Beethoven’s Violin Concert in D major and F Major Sixth Symphony. It wasn’t anything spectacular; I mean, it wasn’t even a full orchestra performing.