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Laurie Niles

Violin Community News 2010, Op. 9

March 10, 2010 at 8:13 PM

Hold your applause! Or maybe we shouldn't, argued arts journalist Alex Ross, writer for The New Yorker magazine and author of The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, at  The Royal Philharmonic Society Lecture Monday in London. This caused quite a stir on Twitter feeds across the land; here you can download the text of his lecture in which Ross traces the history of "The Rule" about applause. "The underlying message of the protocol is, in essence, 'Curb your enthusiasm. Don’t get too excited.'" Ross said, then later in his speech, "I dream of the concert hall becoming a more vital, unpredictable environment, fully in thrall to the composers who mapped our musical landscapes and the performers who populate them."

My thoughts on the matter? Let people applaud, but if there is a special piece that requires silence between music, the conductor can say something like: "Ladies and gentlemen, we always welcome your enthusiasm and applause. In this particular piece, the silence between movements is almost part of the music, so if you will please hold your applause until the end, and I will let you know when that is..."

* * *

More on Haitian violinist Romel Joseph, who remains at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami: the struggle to regain use of his hands will be considerable. When his music building crushed him in the earthquake, his left hand was broken and his right hand was impaled by nails from a wall that had fallen on him, according to The Washington Post. He is not sure if he will play again. "Violins require dexterity," Joseph said to Post writer Darryl Fears. "My hand will heal -- that won't be a problem. Will I play with it? That's a whole different story."

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Violinist Nigel Kennedy will put a 1973 football ("soccer" to Americans) game – England vs. Poland – to music as part of Southbank festival of Polish culture May 30 at the Southbank Centre in London. It might not be the Brits' favorite game in history; England lost, and as the Guardian notes, "The nation went to work the next day depressed and shocked." But as Kennedy says in the same article, "Football brings a lot of people together and music is obviously designed expressly for that purpose. They're also both shared things across all nations."  Kennedy, who has lived for several years in, ahem, Krakow, Poland, will play a semi-improvised score with Polish jazz musicians to accompany the screening of the 1973 game.

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The Moscow State Radio Symphony Orchestra is performing in small towns across United States during a nine-week tour, and according to the New York Times, the musicians are making only about $40 a concert, with no per diem or payment for rehearsals. Attention: that's NOT ENOUGH.

* * *
As the Vienna Philharmonic visited the UK last week, Francesca Jackes of The Independent asks why "no other internationally ranked orchestra has so few women and non-whites: respectively three percent and zero per cent. " This article traces the orchestra's weak and ineffective attempts to incorporate women and minorities into their ranks. The orchestra's spokeswoman is quoted at the end of it: "Perhaps women are just not as ambitious as men."

* * *

A picture of a wrecked violin is enough to break my heart, and that's exactly what Polish violinist  Jerzy Siwek, 58, has after being attacked by a street gang while busking in an area of south London. His 100-year-old violin was badly damaged and the rest of his equipment was taken.


From Mara Gerety
Posted on March 11, 2010 at 5:40 PM

Those street thugs should be charged with violin murder. I'm serious--destroying a musical instrument should be a crime.

I'm no luthier, but does anyone have any idea how much it would cost for Mr. Siwek to get that violin repaired? That story makes me so mad--if there were a fund set up for helping him get it fixed (it's a family heirloom, on top of everything!) I would most definitely contribute.


From John Cadd
Posted on March 12, 2010 at 11:03 PM

Very sad for Jerzy but it looks like random violence and not aimed at him directly.Not much consolation ,I know.This is the way England is going.I don`t even think drink was involved.Strange the way they all drift off separately at the end.  Imagine if they were allowed to carry guns.


From John Cadd
Posted on March 12, 2010 at 11:10 PM

Soccer to the Americans.I always put that in when I post.A vain attempt to educate them and show them the error of their ways.I also tell them Soccer is a silly word.Not as silly though as the famous Jimmy Hill who referred to "Football" kit as vest and "Knickers".OOH ERR Missis!


From James Patterson
Posted on March 15, 2010 at 9:43 PM

Actually, "soccer" was coined by the British, not us Yanks(!) to distinguish the game played by the Football Association from that played by the Rugby Football Union (which had formed their own group because they wanted to touch the ball with their hands).  Sources say "socca" or "soccer" was a nickname derived from  A'ssoc'iation.

Here's a longer and more interesting explanation for this:  http://podictionary.com/?p=269

Bill in Dallas

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