@Gene says,”String players can be very frustrating. ”
Nicely put <hugh sigh>
As much as you might like their playing, keep earplugs on hand so that the riffs don’t make earworms in your head that hang on for days. On the other hand, you can get to know that area of the entire orchestral repertoire so that you can hear it in your head any time that you want. Imagine getting to hear Mahler bass parts, for example, practiced endlessly. And you can learn to appreciate the physical agility and strength that it takes to perform at a top level day after day.
Is there a composer more admired and also despised than Mozart? (re AMADEUS). What some people fail to realize, or perhaps acknowledge, is that whether or not he was better than others, he was simply different from everyone else. He was different in such a way that a perfect interval is different from a major or minor interval. He knew that; others thought it was just arrogance when he asserted his difference. It wasn’t.
As a result, most everything written about him has to be filtered through a veil of misunderstanding.
While the Masons held an undeniable attraction for Mozart, his becoming a member was a catalyst for the dreadful events that later destroyed him. Though this may have been, in his mind, a congenial and fraternal group, it was also an occult group or network, and to that extent, a dangerous one.
With wind players, health and conditioning may be of more importance than age. The health of the Principal Flute I studied with declined due to a serious heart attack even though the individual were still in their prime. In that case, there was also substance abuse, which of course added an element of unpredictability to any performance.
I have recently re-listened to the Lenny/Vienna DG Sibelius Symphonies, in order to better compare and contrast his readings with those of Maestro Vanska in the Grammy-nominated MO/S2+5, and was deeply moved by the depth and resonance of sound of the Vienna Orchestra. Though these are older recordings and there are some dated aspects to them (bleating flutes, for example) Vienna shows a unique character and strength in these recordings.
William Osborn said, “Another problem is that students and colleagues often form a collective identity around the status of star musicians in their circle. They see an attack on those stars as an attack on their own status and identity – as even this discussion shows. One result is that those who speak up are often mobbed.”
Indeed. By daring to demonstrate my lack of illusions about orchestras and their players on another thread, my credibility was called into question. Those some players consider on the ‘outside’ are only supposed to have a rosy-glow obsequiousness, it would appear.
The Principal Flute that I studied with had serious issues. When they began to appear in performance and, even worse, in recordings, the axe started to fall. At the time, my position was to be supportive of the Principal, rather than considering the effect on the rest of the orchestra. I even called the Director (as did others) to ask that this person be allowed to keep their job. They were fired later, anyway.
In hindsight, I think that was a mistake. So the suggestion might be that those who have contact with the player, as colleagues, or even students, be as honest as they can and at least ask some good questions, if they dare.
From the STRIB article (link to full article below):
But there were risks. “Negative outcomes would be that the gap between public announcement of balance and the internal reality of deficits in 2009 and 2010 would need to be maneuvered carefully, and that the deficits in 2011 and 2012 might hinder fundraising,” according to the minutes.
Here you have it. The MO management hired a PR firm to help them spin this unfortunate reality into an acceptable public story in such a way that donations might not fall off.
I appreciate your adding definition to the underbelly of orchestras. It seems to be almost inevitable that when people choose to focus only on themselves and their music and their performance and their career that values and common decency can fall to the wayside.
It also seems to me that, again, with all due respect to the orchestra players who are responsible and have good intent, there seems to be a tendency to circle the wagons and try to keep those they consider outsiders from saying anything critical about any of them, even when it is true.