Bass Blog

Michael Hovnanian plays bass in an orchestra located in a large midwestern city.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008



Bass Blog Back!

Well, I finally heard from all five of my readers. There may be 68,000 odd hits on this page, but to be honest, about 57,995 of those were me obsessively checking to see if the page still existed and if anyone else had viewed it. Thanks to those who inquired about my health, which is no better, but certainly no worse than usual – I simply needed a break.

The performances last week of the Bruckner 5th Symphony have a great deal to do with my decision t start blogging again at this time. Letting a Bruckner 5 pass without comment would be like sitting at the breakfast table one sunny morning and watching the Hindenburg silently drift by without at least nudging one’s companion to look up from the newspaper. Fortunately, under the baton of replacement conductor Jaap van Zweden (filling in for the permanently absent Riccardo Chailly) Bruckner’s bloated masterpiece fared better than the similarly tumid German airship.

The Dutch violinist turned conductor spent more rehearsal time than normal dealing with the strings; in a work such as the Bruckner an endeavor akin to lifting up a stone at the beach, watching the various small crabs and other multi-legged creatures scuttle off in all directions, and then trying to coax them into marching single file across the sand. In spite of the ultimate futility of the effort, it was entertaining to watch. Needless to say, the stone was replaced at the performances with increasing force each night. Still, these were some of the better accounts of the piece I can recall. Too bad the audiences were consistently and depressingly small.

13 comments:

Dan S. said...

Speaking of depressingly small audiences, I don't think I've ever commented here, but I enjoy your posts a lot. Glad to see you're back.

thepurefool said...

I attended both Friday and Tuesday night and was quite sad to see all the empty seats - on the plus side for me I was able to sneak into far more expensive seats as soon as the doors closed.

That being said, I was a fan of the performances and was held back by my wife from confronting you about the lack of updates - welcome back!

Brad said...

I love Bruckner 5, and I thought conductor and orchestra were in great form. There was real tension and drama in the performance, as well as precision and transparency. It's a shame that more people weren't there, but I guess the popularity of this symphony, and Bruckner in general, isn't quite enough yet to fill the hall without having some Beethoven and high profile soloists also on the program.

Welcome back!

Adriel said...

Glad you're back. You're perspective is quite refreshing. And you use words like "tumid."

Tom M said...

I must be one of the five. I find your descriptions of the job funny and they have the ring of truth about them.

Angrybassist said...

Welcome back, Mike. We need your excellent analogies the way a nervous suitor needs reassurance upon discovering that the object of his affections is actually a zombie.

Jeff

George said...

Writing from 300 miles south by southwest of your fair city, we're having Bruckner this weekend as well, the 8th. FWIW, the hall last night was something like 2/3 empty, so it isn't just there about small audiences for Bruckner.

HutCanoe said...

Nice to see your comments back on line!

Mark

Cellogal said...

I love reading your blog.. as an amateur adult learning cello ... it is great to get the perspective about what it's really like in orchestras.. and your blog always makes me smile : )

Glad you're good !

Tim said...

A good 50 or so hits were from me, whose Saturday morning reading routine has had a continual hiccup ever since the end of Ravinia . . .

Glad you're back. Love the blog and look forward to more!

tp said...

Let me echo the sentiments of all the others and say that I'm very glad you're back. I've been checking your blog almost obsessively hoping to get a good laugh or a poignant comment on music and a life revolved around it. keep up the great work!

Clive said...

Make that at least six. I enjoy your blog, and enjoy watching you through my little binoculars while you play. I hope this will not crimp your style, but your face is very expressive!

Felipe said...

it was a great performance. The fifth it is not one of the easiest symphonies to listen, so it needs a concentrated orchestra and the listener. You guys kept my attention going and I enjoyed specially the fugued finale.