9/15/08

Truth Be Told, There's Truth to Tell

Sniff. Sniff. I smell fresh meat.

Amid all the hoopla of cocktail parties and pre-concert dinners, the opening night of the season celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Seattle Symphony's splendid Benaroya Hall, while taking note of the recent announcement that its music director will step down at the end of the 2010-11 season.

Here, we have two options, Bernard Jacobson’s: the opening night of the season celebrated the tenth anniversary of the hall. Meanwhile, the opening night took note of some recent news concerning its music director.

Or...

Mine: The opening night was a celebration of the tenth anniversary of the hall. Those who were present took note of the recent news.

I'll let you decide: the one that personifies an "opening night" or the rational one.

Gerard Schwarz, holder of that post since 1985, has been an inspirational leader.

I like to slowly stalk my prey.

Like any inspirational leader, he has had not only admirers, like this critic, but detractors too.

...detractors in what sense?

Readers of this newspaper will not be unaware of the controversies that have shadowed his relations with some orchestra members in recent seasons.

Oh. I get it. He’s talking about the detractors who...what? Pointed out how bad he was working with the musicians? So...his detractors were what? Oh. Just telling the truth! Silly me. Ms. Iron Tongue has a few complimentary words on this fiasco.

By the way, double-negatives, like “will not be unaware,” really irk me, especially when I presume you’re working with a fairly strict word count; they waste valuable space.

Happily there were no signs of tension at Saturday's concert.

There was a concert, too? How was that?

Besides an ovation of unmistakable affection from the audience...

The opposite: Besides an ovation of unmistakable derision from the audience...Ha! It’s only a guess, but my guess is that ovations are always of a positive nature (someone might want to consult a dictionary. Wait, no. There’s no point. I’m right). Therefore, “unmistakable affection” is totally superfluous. More wasted space.

Truth to tell...

Correction: “Truth be told.”

Truth to tell [sic], despite the "Symphony" in the name, there was nothing symphonic about this program.

Weird. They didn’t play together? They didn’t syn- “together” + phone “voice, sound?” Ever eaten an etymology with blood pudding? Yum.

Besides (and please help me out on this one, people), isn’t “Symphony” in the name merely a reference to the type of organization or instrumentation, not the specific kind of repertoire? There is no contractual obligation to play only symphonies, is there? If there is, I’m not aware of it.

Aside from three short orchestral pieces, the evening was given over to vocal music...

Yeah, Mr. Literal-head, accompanied by a symphony orchestra. Whatever.

Among the purely orchestral pieces [...] "An Outdoor Overture," handsomely as it was done, is a relatively banal chip from Aaron Copland's workbench...

Slowly stalking...

...but we were also treated to the waltz from the ballet "Billy the Kid," which is a different matter entirely.

Still stalking... Fill in the blanks:

The ballet, a potent and affecting blend of downhome ______ and streetwise ______, [...]

Any guesses?

You’re all wrong! The correct answer is:

The ballet, a potent and affecting blend of downhome and streetwise, [...]

The Seattle Times is generally pretty good, with witty and spectacular. But not this time.

Pounce!
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3 comments:

Sator Arepo said...

"A blend of downhome and streetwise"?

WTF? That's just awful. Adjectives modify nouns. At least, that's what they told me!

Gustav said...

While I agree that sentences sucks some major camel scrotum, I don't think it's hard to read it where both downhome (actually, I believe it's "down-home", with the hyphen!) and streetwise are modifying ballet. But then again, grammar makes for poor conversation.

What I don't get is this hatred for Schwarz. I know that I don't know the whole story, buy that guy took the Seattle Symphony for obscurity, from the ranks oif 4th tier Tulsa Symphony status and made them into one of the powerhouses. Together with the administration he managed to get the symphony one of the most lucrative recording contracts in classical music as well as one of the most impressive tour schedules. It's because of these things that Seattle Symphony musicians are amongst the best paid in the country (not to mention that they get to be employed in Seattle rather than fucking Birmingham or some other asshole of creation).

I'm sure the musicians have their reasons, and it's usually a healthy step when an orchestra gets a new conductor after 10-15 years, but frankly a lot of symphony musicians are dicks by trade. And frankly, I'm not going to be one to just join in at the back of mob to pitchfork Schwarz's ass. I've seen the Seattle Symphony on a few occasions, and to this date they were amongst the best concerts (both in terms of adventurous programming and performance) that I've ever been to.

So, there. Not sure who I'm arguing with, but my peace has been said, and I said camel scrotum.

Lisa Hirsch said...

All you need to do is read the NY Times article I link to to see what the problems with Schwarz are. He is a bully who has demoralized the orchestra. They voted approximately 61-8 in favor of new leadership last year.

I have heard some other astonishing stories, but third-hand and without permission to discuss. They all make him sound like an unprofessional bully.

Lastly, that's "complementary," not "complimentary." Editors are completely dead.