on the record: February 2008 Archives

People in the industry have long held up the South Dakota Symphony as a model of a small orchestra, and having spent two days there I can see why. It performs in Sioux Falls, a city of 150,000 with a metropolitan area of about 200,000. (The entire population of South Dakota is about 750,000, so clearly this is the state's major metropolitan area). The orchestra operates with a balanced budget of around $1.7 million. Six out of the past eight years have been in the black; the two that missed, missed by small amounts...

February 29, 2008 2:16 PM | | Comments (2)

There seems to have been a good deal written in the music pages of the New York Times recently about both performance style and about the visual element of classical musicians' performances, subjects I have raised in this blog a few times. It began, or at least I first noticed it, in a review of a January Philadelphia Orchestra concert that included Leonard Bernstein's Jeremiah Symphony. Bernard Holland criticized the mezzo soprano soloist for her dramatic gestures, which she obviously felt reflected both the music and the text. The reviewer advised her to stand still and sing and "let the music speak for itself." A few weeks later, Holland followed with an entire column devoted to what he saw as excessive gesturing on the part of many young performers - and argued that this kind of behavior would somehow act as a barrier to developing new and younger audiences...

February 22, 2008 9:56 AM | | Comments (1)

I've noticed lately more frequent conversations about the visual aspect of symphony orchestra concerts - or, more precisely, about the lack of a significant visual element. But these have not been conversations about video enhancement, colored lighting, or any use of technology. Rather they have been about the look of the stage at a traditional concert...

February 15, 2008 12:29 PM | | Comments (14)

Some time ago, I wrote a blog expressing some frustration with what I considered to be today's overly "puristic" approach to musical interpretation. I commented that there was significant documentary evidence from the first 50 or 60 years of recordings that in the period ending roughly around 1950 there was a wider range of interpretive possibilities than is the case today. And, I argued, this made for less predictability in our concert (and recording) life, which was a good thing...

February 8, 2008 10:49 AM | | Comments (5)

On January 19, I spent the day with the Reading Symphony Orchestra in Reading, Pa. Reading is a city of about 90,000, in a metropolitan area of about 300,000. But within that metropolitan area are other orchestras in other communities (Lancaster, York), so they are not the only orchestra serving their area. They have recently appointed a music director, Andrew Constantine. This was quite typical of a day I might spend with an orchestra, and I thought it might be worth sharing with you.

February 1, 2008 11:21 AM | | Comments (2)


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This page is a archive of recent entries written by on the record in February 2008.

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