I’ve complained often enough about classical music publicity
and press releases. So it’s wonderful to see someone doing it right. Though as
it happens, this isn’t a press release, but instead a newspaper item about an
upcoming concert, printed today in the Times-Herald
Record, the really fine local paper for New York’s Mid-Hudson region:
Beethoven and the yaks
There may be no greater musical
treat this season than what’s happening at w:st="on">Bard
The college’s Conservatory Chamber
Orchestra will present a free program in the Frank Gehry-designed
Sosnoff Theater at 3 p.m.
Michael Gilbert will conduct
Rossini’s "Overture to Cinderella," C.P.E. Bach’s "
class=SpellE>FluteConcertoin D Minor," featuring soloist Tara
Helen O’Connor, and — the piece de resistance — Beethoven’s glorious
"Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Opus 92."
Beethoven himself conducted the
premiere of his work on Dec. 8, 1813. It was a hit, but subsequent judgments
haven’t always (incredibly enough) been kind.
Richard Wagner, knocked out by its
lively rhythms, called it "the apotheosis of dance." But composer
Carl Maria von Weber, after hearing the first movement, said he thought
Beethoven was "ripe for the madhouse."
More recently, conductor Thomas
Beecham said "What can you do with it? It’s like a lot of yaks jumping
about," prompting the unanswered questions, "Do yaks ever really jump
around? And if they do, do they really sound like Beethoven?"
Find out for yourself. It’s
first-come, first-served. Call 758-7900 or visit www.bard.edu/conservancy
Isn’t this marvelous? Remember its purpose — it appeared in
a regional newspaper, and the point was to get readers interested in the
concert. Obviously a press release
style='mso-spacerun:yes'>aimed at classical music connoisseurs
would be different. But for general readers, most of whom wouldn’t normally plan
to attend a classical concert, this is fabulous. Makes you want to hear the
piece, and (this is the really great part) form your own opinion. You’re not
bludgeoned with empty superlatives, killing all thought as they tell you how
great Beethoven is. (There was one small problem. Can you spot it, especially after you read to the end of this post?)
Kudos to whatever Record
staffer wrote this. For comparison, here’s Bard’s own press release, not
offensive, in any way, but completely bland, with eye-glazing empty bios of the
conductor and soloist:
BARD COLLEGE CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC PRESENTS THE CONSERVATORY CHAMBER
ORCHESTRA AT BARD’S
Free Program Features Flute Soloist Tara Helen O’Connor with Michael
Gilbert Conducting the Orchestra
– The Bard College Conservatory of Music presents a concert featuring the
Conservatory Chamber Orchestra on Sunday, December 3. The program, free and
open to the public, begins at 3:00 p.m. in the acoustically stunning Frank
class=SpellE>Gehry-designed Sosnoff Theater of
Michael Gilbert conducts the
Conservatory Chamber Orchestra in performances of Gioacchino
Rossini’s Overture to La Cenerentola (Cinderella); C.
P. E. Bach’s Flute Concerto in D Minor, H. 425 (W22), featuring soloist and
Conservatory faculty member Tara Helen O’Connor; and Ludwig van Beethoven’s
Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92.
Conductor Michael Gilbert served
for many decades as a member of the violin section of the New York Philharmonic
Orchestra. He retired from that position to pursue a busy schedule of guest
appearances, especially with youth and conservatory orchestras, in the w:st="on">
Tara Helen O’Connor received a
Ph.D. from SUNY Stony Brook, where she studied with Samuel Baron, Robert Dick,
Keith Underwood, and Julius Levine. In 2001, she was awarded the Avery Fisher
Career Grant. She is a founding member of the New Millennium Ensemble, which
won the Naumburg Award in 1995, and flute soloist of
the renowned Bach Aria Group. O’Connor was the first wind player chosen to
participate in the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s “Chamber Music
Society Two” program for emerging artists. She continues to perform regularly
with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Orpheus, Bargemusic,
Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest, and Music from Angel
Fire. She has recorded for
CRI, Koch International, and Bridge Records.
Seating is on a first-come,
first-served basis. For further information, call the box office at
845-758-7900 or visit www.bard.edu/conservatory.