Norman Lebrecht on shifting sound worlds
One would like to tie up the board of the Minnesota Orchestra Association and force them to listen to this dignified departure.
Thank you very much, Norman, for posting this very bittersweet moment.
“I would like to leave you with a piece of, of course, Sibelius” [laughter and applause]. Oh, how we love this man! He will be welcomed back with open arms at any time. He said he will miss the players more than he can imagine. Believe me, the audience feels the same way about the Maestro.
As others have written, the orchestra Board now seems isolated, without public support, and basically illegitimate. They have failed in their mission to destroy the orchestra, thankfully, as the musicians continue to play together and produce their own sold-out concerts, one of which was broadcast on radio/internet across the state and around the world on Saturday evening.
The Board, itself, on the other hand, is now without honor in this community and needs to step aside.
I can’t help thinking about it. One of the grand old orchestras of the North American continent, nurtured by its community for more than a century, and now, at the height of its fame and glory, comes to a moment like this. And for no good reason. No reason due to lack of audience appreciation, no believable financial reason, and certainly, no personnel reason.
A beautiful took flight, and a few sportsmen took turns shooting at it as it fell to the ground.
A very striking and apt image. After all, America is a country which values its gun “culture” far more than what they call “elitist European” culture.
Thank you. Let’s do this. It would be the first classical music these philistine plutocrats have ever heard.
Just get rid of Henson and the board.
Stereo…Yes. Many, many people agree with you. But: how is that to be done?
Henson will not step down unless the board asks him.
The board is volunteer…they will not step down unless Henson, or probably the chairman, asks them to. In this case, the board chairman is Jon Campbell, who is, to put it mildly: part of the problem. “Getting rid of” is easier said than done.
There may be a tangled legal option. There has been discussion that state government could force a breakup of the endowment, split in some way between the MOA and the musicians if they form a proper entity. The endowment was raised on the promise of supporting the Minnesota Orchestra and Orchestra Hall via the Minnesota Orchestral Association. The MOA has failed on both points (with no orchestra, Orchestra Hall is not viable, being designed for the explicit purpose of achieving acoustic ideals for orchestras). I don’t know of a precedent, but clearly a public trust is involved, and legitimacy of representation surface. As I say, this is a murky legal position but one management built for itself.
here is a transcript of what Vanska said:
I was privileged to be able to attend the 2 pm concert on Sat. This concert was added after the other 2 were sold out. The 2 pm concert was sold out within 30 minutes of tickets becoming available on Fri at 8 am. He said basically the same thing at 2 pm and 8 pm on Sat. except that he added the final words at 8 pm of why he asked the audience to withhold applause. ( I heard the 8 pm broadcast on the radio).
It is remarkable that Vanska chose to conclude a farewell concert with a dance of death, and saying the situation was terrible, and a request to hold applause. The concert ended like a Good Friday church service. Is there any precedent for a concert to end this way?
I don’t find his words are being widely reported.
Author, novelist, broadcaster, cultural commentator.
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