Sunday, September 25, 2011

Volmer’s Law

I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s some form of physical law governing the likelihood of a mobile phone firing off in the middle of a concert, and it’s essentially that the likelihood of this happening is inversely proportional to the volume of the music being played, thus:


I struck this a while ago during one of the relatively few quiet moments in Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, and again last Saturday.  The program consisted of Sculthorpe’s Sun Music III (during while the fire alarms could have sounded, and we’d simply have assumed that they were scripted), followed by Sibelius’ King Christian II Suite, a robust piece with few quiet spots, one of which was neatly filled with the trilling of a mobile phone.  The fact that the concert was being broadcast live on the ABC only added to the sense of inevitability.  As Arvo Volmer was on the podium on both occasions it seems fair the append his name to this momentous scientific breakthrough.

Mercifully the phones remained silent (as did the coughers and sneezers) during the star turn of the night, Beethoven’s Emperor concerto with Nikolai Demidenko as soloist.  It was a great performance, the ensuing applause bringing forth not one but two encores.  He didn’t announce what the encores were (at a guess I’d say they were both Chopin, with a nocturne followed by a mazurka) – the obvious solution was to hold up a Shazam enabled mobile phone, but given the earlier excitement this didn’t seem like such a great idea.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Snail Mail and the MSO


Go figure.  I jump online to get a copy of the MSO’s 2012 program.  It’s ready to go, but I get this message:

Request a 2012 Brochure

If you would like to find out more about our 2012 Season and you would like to receive a 2012 Season Brochure, please complete the brochure request form and one will be mailed to you.

To paraphrase Dilbert, this must come in very handy if someone from the 1980s is trying to get concert tickets.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Westralian Symphony Orchestra

imageIt looks like the folks out west are about ready for secession (again!).  Of the 64 pieces listed in their 2012 program, all of one piece was written by an Australian.  Count ‘em, one! Ross Edwards (whose piece it is: Full Moon Dances) must feel honoured indeed!

One wonders what the Australia Council thinks of this – you’d reckon they’d expect a bit more bang for their buck in terms of local content.

Friday, September 2, 2011

ACO 2012 Season – a triumph for flannelette

Here’s a few observations about the ACO’s 2012 season brochure, which I received today:


          • The svelte Russell Crowe look on the cover is definitely eye-catching.    Could this be the very first time a man in a flannelette shirt has appeared on the front cover of a major orchestral ensemble’s new season program?  If so, why has it taken so long?
          • Ideally there’d be a Winnie Blue dangling from the corner of Tognetti’s mouth but we can’t have everything.
          • Has someone found God?  The program includes a lot of religious toe-tappers:
            • Ah, Gentle Jesu
            • Most Holy Mother of God
            • Veni Creator Spiritus (three times!)
            • Exsultate Jubilate
            • Prayer of Christ Ascending Towards His Father



          • The ACO appears to have significantly decreased its component of music written by living composers, but two of the composers only died quite recently: Meale (2009) and Gorecki (2010)
          • If these two were treated as living composers (although the technology is currently beyond us) the Live Music ratio jumps to 20%








          • After flirting last year with a few more pieces appearing on the composite “top 200 classical classics” lists, the ACO has again reverted to avoiding these works like the plague, mostly









          • The Repertoire Safety Index has dropped a bit, indicating that the ACO is playing more works by famous composers, but not necessarily their famous works
          • It remains to be seen whether one of the other orchestras will trump them on this score









          • For the record, works by Australian composers steady at 9%