an blog | AJBlog Central | Contact me | Advertise | Follow me:

Which Firebird did you say, Mr Dudamel?

Looks like the LA Phil needs to hire a new intern on its website – unless its musicologist-in-residence has quietly discovered an unknown Schumann suite.

LA Phil screen shot

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Auto-text on orchestral website CMSs – we’ve all been there…

  2. Richard Hallam says:

    Ah, Yes, the Schumann version. One of my favourires.\

  3. Many people who work in the orchestra music administrations are bunch of idiots, this isn’t an oversight, the person simply has ZERO musical knowledge

  4. eitan bezalel says:

    Why to attack a person for a simple mistake…..we all are human……..!

  5. Mitchell, I can’t really let that stand, being one of them. A simple innocent typo made whilst one’s mind was on other things they were producing at the time perhaps? Since it’s a website it’s easily corrected. This poor person doesn’t deserve to have their mistake dragged out publicly like this, a quiet word in an email would have been enough – quick correct, end of story; perhaps resolving to take slightly more care in the future. To brand them an idiot with no musical knowledge is as unfair as Norman’s story in the first place.

  6. Oliver Condy says:

    “Ed Gardner, music director of English National Opera, is to succeed Andrew Litton in 2015 at the Bergen Symphony Orchestra.”

    I think you need to take a look at your own copy before you criticise others, Norman.

  7. It’s Friday, It’s clearly a slow news day. And anyway, the website says the programme is subject to change, so they probably will play the Stravinsky version after all. But I agree with Oliver, Norman had to have several goes at spelling Chetham’s before he managed it, and that was an important subject.

  8. Oh dear, did everyone get out of the wrong side of the bed this morning?

    Mitchell – I’m certain that you have never ONCE made a mistake of any kind and are the model of a perfect human being. Well done.

    Norman – since the headline on the LA site screams “Stravinsky’s Firebird”, it does feel a little mean-spirited to make a point about interns from a little error. You are assuming, of course, that only interns do websites, which is a bit odd.
    Should’ve just pointed it out in a back-page-of-classical-music-magazine type way.

    Anyway, it’s much more amusing to observe magazine and website editors pointing out each other’s mistakes. That could go on forever. I mean, where does one start?!!

    Lets all go and have a nice cup of tea.

    • Let’s talk about more significant mistakes, like Bernstein using a boy soprano to sing the final movement of Mahler’s 4th.

  9. It’s obviously just a mistake – a typo or an autocorrect. As Stravinsky’s Firebird is clearly mentioned in the headline. I do think this is a bit of a storm in a tea-cup, or at the worst an amusing mistake. My experience of orchestral administrators is that they are – mostly – hard working and dedicated and often over-worked, which is why mistakes like this happen.

  10. Actually, Clara Schumann’s nickname.

  11. I remember that back in December 2011 the LA Phil was promoting Dudamel’s Mahler project. One of the reasons to attend, according to the orchestra’s website, was because the Dude had presented Mahler’s 9th in Vienna “in the same hall where Mahler himself conducted it’s world premiere” … Now that’s not just a simple inattentive moment, the copywriter did some serious research…

    • Was that the one Bruno was lip syncing? or, as Hillary would say, “channeling”? No big deal, as they say in Brooklyn, in Hollywood they get away with “moider”.

  12. I can’t find anything at the LAPHIL website that resembles this, though typo aside, the program details are correct. Where did you find it?

    Interesting to have the piece durations so prominent. Many cynical responses could be imagined, but I wonder how common that is.

    It’s always nice to see works by Claude Vivier appearing on programs of major orchestras.

  13. José Bergher says:

    I don’t understand what’the big deal over a little typo. Such a storm over Schumann’s Vogel when what was meant was Bruckner’s. Ein Vogel ist ein Vogel; alle theorie ist grau, said Goethe.
    (This dialogue was heard at a shop for expensive Italian instruments made a few centuries ago. Somebody shows up with a violin and tells the owner, “Mr. X, I want to show you this Stradivarius violin.” Owner says, “But look here, sir, it says ‘Antonio Stradivarius made in Japan, 1963’.” Customer, “Yes, so what? He traveññed.”

  14. Martin Locher says:

    This mistake I find rather funny and worth posting here -but: Unfortunatly I have to agree with a few, that it’s totally out of proportion to ask an organization to replace an employee for such a minor mistake. Just like all those “typo”-corrections which infect many discussion boards and social networks.

    We have enough companies firing already rather low paid people for little mistakes in the hope they’ll find an even cheaper worker. We have enough companies hiring only agency workers instead of taking full responsibility for their employees.

    And as I have learned from a TV report this week: Here in Switzerland we even have (at least) one business which (almost) forces employees to found a GmbH (“company with limited liability”) and serve as their branches. This saves the main company any responsibility for the workers, saves lots of additional costs (healthcare benefits ect.) and so on. It’s ridicolous how things like this are legal and extremly worrying.

    In this perspective I find it very wrong to ask a company to fire someone for a minor mistake, while there are much bigger employer-employee issues which should be addressed and discussed.

    I herewith ask Norman to edit the article, so it won’t reflect a suggetion that someone shall be fired for something this insignificant.

    • I wasn’t suggesting anyone should lost their job over a simple error – just that LAPO should hire an intern as backup.

      • I gather that you do not have an intern to check your verb tenses. Perhaps you should consider it. :)

        Easy to see what happened with the LA Phil. Their Feb 24 concert has the ‘Rhenish’ as the third item on the program. The web geek likely started with that page and forgot to edit the composer name.

      • Martin Locher says:

        Interpreted “new intern” as they shall hire somebody else. Guess I wasn’t the only one. Would it make sense to replace “new” with “additional” to avoid this misinterpretation?

  15. David Hutchings says:

    All I can do is laugh!

  16. Thanks, Mr Lebrecht. It made me smile. But surely, there are a lot of touchy people among your readers…

    • Only when one’s own profession is slated as ‘many people who work in the orchestra music administrations are bunch of idiots’ by another reader, yes, we are quite touchy.

    • Clearly so – and let’s not lose sight of the fact that Norman provides such a rigorous, honest and deeply intelligent dialogue in the world of (often bland and corrupt) music . . .long may he continue . . .!

  17. Reggie Benstein says:

    Reminds me of the time I called a chamber music organization to inquire about the repertoire for that evening’s concert and was told very earnestly that on the programme was “Mendelssohn’s Trio in a minus” and “Skoobert’s Trio in E -and a little b plus”.

    We went anyway… was a pretty good concert!

  18. Clyde McConnell says:

    It should be said that the LA Phil’s push e-mail advertising, with extensive notes and links, it excellent. A mistake now and then is just plain fun for us party-stuffed shirts.

  19. Pira Beresford says:

    Is the story of Bach’s Massachusetts in B minor true or purely apocryphal?

    • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

      A friend who worked in a record store years ago reported requests for Bach’s Christmas Ontario and the Mass in A by a composer names Jules. This was long before web sites…

      • Jeremy Bines says:

        I once walked into a CD shop and asked if they had a recording of Ariadne auf Naxos.

        After a short search on the database came the immortal reply: “No, but we’ve one on Deutsche Grammophon.”

  20. I have a fond memory of an announcer on Ireland’s Raidió Éireann long ago who introduced a recording of Les Préludes as by “Liszt arranged by Lamartine”.

  21. La mer is the beatiful song composed by Charles Trenet. Is all wrong!

  22. We all make mistakes, sure, but in an organisation as large as the LAPhil you would expect there to be at least one person double-checking that what leaves the office/computer is correct. I believe it is called proof-reading?

  23. When I worked in a music store forty years ago, a lady in the sheet music department ordered a copy of “How Lovely Are Thy Dwellings” (from the Brahms German Requiem) for someone and mistyped the order as “How Lovely Are Thy Swellings”. Anybody else have some similar stories?

  24. Actually, an ingenious marketing ploy by the LA Phil: this simple switch of composers attracts those jaded listeners who are tired of hearing the same old warhorses again and again, while at the same time luring conservative potential ticket buyers by replacing the scary Stravinsky with the comforting Schumann.
    Seriously though, the commenter named Dave Fox is probably correct about the reason for the mistake.
    More important, if you ask the musicians of the LA Phil what would they prefer their management to do – spend money on hiring highly educated website editors in order to decrease the probability of occasional mistakes (they are already quite rare and one can never eliminate them completely) or use that same money on salaries and benefits for the orchestra members – guess what their response will be.

  25. Let’s not forget how honest, rigorous and vital the service that Norman provides for us is – do not complain, particularly in the present climate – for heaven’s sake, we need exposure and transparency!

  26. @Mitchell Easy to blame the web administrator. Have met lots of musicians who have ‘t the faintest historical or theoretical clue about the fine music they are playing (although it’s their profession). But I don’t mind, as long they play well and thrill the audience…

an ArtsJournal blog