Via the Guardian
“But there’s something missing in our orchestral culture, at least according to many musicians based in Europe: a vital spark of intensity and engagement. British orchestras have an unimpeach-able reputation for speed and accuracy. Talking to Simon Rattle ahead of his London residency with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, he told me that one of the principal players in Berlin had a stint as a section leader at one of London’s orchestras. He was amazed at the brilliance of the British musicians in the first rehearsal of a complex piece by Bartók.”
Interesting article. I think that we could learn something from the world of recording, where we do everything digital. They have plugins that add warmth and analog qualities to recordings. Perhaps a little imperfection would be a good thing in an orchestra?
This is an older article I starred in Google Reader. From the Wall Street Journal:
Gonzalo Ruiz is always on the lookout for another piece to add to his repertoire. Because he’d already mastered most of the finest Baroque music composed for oboe, Mr. Ruiz—a faculty member at New York’s Juilliard School and one of today’s most sought-after woodwind soloists—decided to look through J.S. Bach’s music for pieces originally featuring other instruments to transcribe into new versions showcasing his oboe. In the flexible practices of the 18th century, flutes were often substituted for oboes—Mozart himself once tried to pass off a rewritten oboe concerto as a “new” flute concerto—so Mr. Ruiz turned to Bach’s flute literature, which led him directly to one of the most famous flute-centric works in classical music, “Orchestral Suite No. 2.” How would it sound, he wondered, if transposed to an oboe-friendlier key?
Sadly, there is like NOTHING out there for Jazz Oboe. So, I took on a task of transposing and rearranging Bill Holcombe’s Jazz Flute Concerto to work for Oboe. Seems to work out fairly well. The only thing that sorta sucks is that I only have a TAPE of the backgrounds and the piece. When I transfered it to digital, I guess the tape player was slower and caused the whole recording to be about 9 cents flat. So, a little bump in the Amazing Slowdowner fixed that.
But still, it’s TAPE. It’s all stuffy sounding. I searched Fluteworld.com for a CD version of the Concerto, but they seem not to have it anymore (any version).
Bill Holcombe is an amazing guy. He is like a billion years old, and plays the snot out of flute, clarinet and saxophone. Dunno about Oboe, but he probably could hang on that too.
This is from a NY Times article:
No Fortissimo? Symphony Told to Keep It Down
By SARAH LYALL
LONDON — They had rehearsed the piece only once, but already the
musicians at the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra were suffering. Their
ears were ringing. Heads throbbed.
Tests showed that the average noise level in the orchestra during the
piece, “State of Siege,” by the composer Dror Feiler, was 97.4 decibels,
just below the level of a pneumatic drill and a violation of new
European noise-at-work limits. Playing more softly or wearing
noise-muffling headphones were rejected as unworkable.
So instead of having its world premiere on April 4, the piece was
dropped. “I had no choice,” said Trygve Nordwall, the orchestra’s
manager. “The decision was not made artistically; it was made for the
protection of the players.”
Wow. 97 is waaaaay too loud for anyone.