Bass Blog

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

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Week 35

Here we go again…

HAYDN Symphony No. 101 (The Clock)
Bernard Haitink, conductor

RAVEL Menuet antique
LIEBERSON Neruda Songs
MAHLER Symphony No. 1
Kelley O’Connor, mezzo-soprano
Bernard Haitink, conductor


7:30 concert (Haydn/Shostakovich)

travel to New York

12-2:30 rehearsal
8 concert

11-1:30 rehearsal
8 concert

travel to [the city where we live]


Yes, we are in New York again, I guess because each of our conductors gets a separate tour.

With two music director surrogates, the orchestra is comparable to the child with a pair of elderly doting uncles, each offering a clandestine trip to the corner ice-cream parlor. The child of course would say nothing, aiming a conspiratorial wink at the counter-man, surprised to see him back so soon. So the following will I am sure generate some displeasure, along the lines of the child getting a kick in the shins from a little nephew when, grabbing uncle Bernie’s sleeve, he tries to explain that uncle Pierre just treated them to ice-cream cones an hour ago.

As much as I like free trips here and there, sometimes I wonder why we do it. I’m also worrying more and more about carbon footprints lately. Even with the lavish expense accounts they surely demand, it might prove cheaper and more environmentally friendly to fly a handful of New York critics to come hear us at home. The notion Carnegie Hall ticket buyers are somehow more important to impress than our local audience may or may not be true, but it’s a little condescending. Instead of taking the dog and pony show on the road, maybe we could have offered our subscribers a third week of Haitink concerts.

The New York concerts seemed to be well received, so maybe it was worthwhile after all. Carnegie’s live acoustic created a few scary ensemble moments. In spite of its stellar reputation I’ve often had trouble hearing myself onstage there. A colleague sitting directly beside our section pronounced the basses ‘inaudible’ which, perhaps out of paranoia, I couldn’t help but think was uttered with a sense of relief.


Brad said...

It seems you enjoy playing in the dry acoustic of Orchestra Hall better than a resonant one like Carnegie, but please take some pity on us poor audience members who would love to hear our great orchestra bask in a little warmth and reverb!

MK said...

Flying the critics to the unnamed city instead of the orchetrsa to NY may have a smaller carbon footprint. But then again, flying the orchestra to NY has a smaller carbon footprint than flying an audience of 2,300 each night from NY to the unnamed city. Who cares about the critics?! The ones at the NYT are strange anyway. Have some mercy on the audience. When I was living in NY and in Germany, your tours were the only tikmes I could hear the CSO live.

eric said...

They make this interesting technology called the "radio" these days. You play into a device called a microphone, and it gets converted into sound waves which then travel via the air waves to other destinations. It's quite ingenious!

Someday the xSO may even do television broadcasts.