27. October 2009 · Comments Off on The Differences · Categories: Links, Opera, Symphony

One of my favorite young composers, Nico Muhly, was writing last week about the marked differences between working with instrumentalists and singers (specifically, opera singers,) and his take made me think about the seemingly widening gulf between the concert hall and the opera house.

Muhly’s post was mainly about rhythmic accuracy, or the lack of it, which he experiences very directly as a composer working both with orchestral-type musicians, who prize rhythm above nearly everything else, and rely on accurate counting to hold the ensemble together, and opera companies, where singers (who control the ensemble in the end) focus more on the overall shape of musical phrases than on the specific rhythms that have been written for them.

But orchestras and opera companies have been growing apart in less musically specific ways, too.

I play in both opera and symphony orchestras. But I don’t play for the big bucks, and I don’t play in the “big groups”. I just love what I do. The article, though, is very interesting. It’s really about the top companies; it doesn’t relate so much to the two groups I’m in. (Well, except for the rhythm thing!)

RTWT, by Sam Bergman, or the Minnesota Orchestra … because the parts that are more important aren’t included here. 🙂

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