Sunday, June 04, 2006

What's wrong with this sentence?

Over at the New Music Box, I read the following:
Orchestra Summit 2006
No one denies that we all want performances of new orchestral work that composers, musicians, and their audiences will look to with pride and satisfaction. Six key industry players discuss ways of reaching that goal and the hurdles that remain in our path.
If that's an "industry" then it's about as advanced as the Morgan Motor Company. I mean, seriously, do we really want to speak of orchestras as industrial? That's risking a market environment in which I do not believe most musicians are prepared to compete, and I suspect that the introduction of industrial production values may adversely affect product identity. From an industrial point-of-view, it is silly that Morgan still has a woodshop, puts the wheels on first so that the cars can be rolled up and down the hill from shop to shop, and use very few power tools, but those are exactly the elements that make the Morgan's identity as a "hand-made" motorcar so charming and enduring. The endurance of the orchestra as an institution is also in large part due to charm -- evening dress with tails, horsehair bows, coughing between movements, that person in front of the orchestra noiselessly gesticulating -- and it's hard to say what a loss any retreat from these charming elements would mean.


Anonymous said...

Call me a curmudgeon but I don't see the whole orchestra scene as charming but rather a hassle. For me to go see the San Francisco Symphony, it requires money, planning, restrained behavior etc. I much prefer the informality and intimacy of say a small-scale chamber music concert. Not that I would call that a "cottage industry" either...

Robert Gable

Scott said...

To Robert's comments, I would add that chamber musicians seem much more invested in the music than orchestral musicians. However, I still love's me some symphonies, and the ritualized aspects of the symphony hall can create a different sort of pleasurable experience.