Bass Blog

Michael Hovnanian formerly played bass with an orchestra located in a large midwestern city.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

week 27

So foul and fair a day I have not seen

RIMSKY-KORSAKOV Russian Easter Overture
STRAVINSKY Symphony in C
BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 1
Charles Dutoit, conductor
Evgeny Kissin, piano


10-12:30 rehearsal

10-12:30 1:30-3:30 rehearsals

10-12:30 rehearsal
8 concert

11:15 Via Crucis (Good Friday Service)
8 concert

12-2:30 rehearsal
8 concert


With a mixture of horror and revulsion I only lately realized the Saturday rehearsal long in my schedule was no typographical error as I had secretly hoped, but a plan, cunning in conception, cruel in execution, hatched by minds more apt to evil than to scheduling. In short, I despise Saturday rehearsals. 12-2:30 insures the ruination of a perfectly good afternoon and suppertime. If warfare signals the failure of diplomats, Saturday rehearsals signal the failure of schedulers.

In fact, I’m so disappointed at having to show up on a Saturday that is all I’m inclined to write about. I could mention Dutoit’s hard to follow antics or Kissin’s piano playing, but I won’t.


Chantal said...

What's the point of a half hour rehearsal? Seems like an abysmal waste of time to me.

Michael Hovnanian said...

I'm not sure what you mean. The foul Saturday reherasal is 12 - 2:30, two an a half miserable hours.

Chantal said...

I swear I saw 12-12:30! I saw it, I swear! Oh, losing my mind...

But curse the person who scheduled your rehearsal anyway.

Friar Tuck said...

I'm not sure what you mean by Dutoit's hard to follow antics. You mean his conducting is hard to describe or his antics in a rehearsal afterwards? Perhaps if we bribed you with some Easter chocolate or a Sunday nap on the couch you could clarify.

nocynic said...

As I understand it, the Saturday rehearsal was necessitated by the concert next Sunday. As of our new contract, when we have a Sunday concert, they have to give us two days off in either the week before or after the concert. To enable us having Monday and Tuesday off next week, and still having four rehearsals for next week's concerts, we needed a Saturday rehearsal. So the culprits are those fiends who negotiated the most recent contract...anybody you know, Mike?

Anonymous said...

Please, after the reviews in the paper, we just HAVE to hear about Kissin! PRETTY please?

Michael Hovnanian said...


Allowing the days off before the Sunday concert (and also not drastically reducing the number of Saturday rehearsals) was a mistake masquerading as a compromise. I’ve already been thoroughly whipped over the 35-year pension. Now this… I’m hoping the rest of the negotiators will follow my lead and resign, but I’m not holding my breath.

To everyone else, knowing I’m at least partly responsible for this debacle puts me in an even worse mood. Besides, I don’t think I could say anything about the performance equal to our eloquent and erudite local critics.

nocynic said...

I forgive you, Mike...Hey, I had been off for two weeks and it was nice to see everybody again...well, almost everybody...

Unknown said...

re: Dutoit, observed antics of

Some years back, we went to hear Dutoit lead the NY Philharmonic in a performance of The Planets; an adventure meant to introduce my non-musical parents to the concert hall.

And then. Though the musicians valiantly tried to follow Dutoit, and then to ignore him, he still managed to derail the Mercury movement entirely. They had to abort and try it again.

Enter my parents, who had somehow come to understand that everything played by an orchestra starts and stops three times, after which one claps.

So. The movement stumbles to a grinding halt, and my parents shout and clap. Little known to them, in context, this applause comes across as hugely sarcastic. Poor things -- they got hissed by the folks two rows back, and earned a glare from Dutoit before I was able to get their attention.

It's funny now, and they like concerts. But we've all decided that the stress in Dutoit's name is on the second syllable.

- G.