10/26/08

Hyperbole, Literally

I've never even explored the Lafyette Daily Advertiser, although perhaps the name is intended as a warning rather than a title.

However, a loyal reader recommended this review to me.

ASO Performs the 'concert of the season'

Well. Hyperbole can be an excellent rhetorical device, but not when overused. See, the whole idea is that overstating your case amplifies your argument, right? So overstating your overstatements just...doesn't work. Lets check with Ray Blum of the Lafayette Daily Advertiser:

Make absolutely no mistake about it,

ABSOLUTELY NO MISTAKE.

when the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra is hot, you can fry an egg on a trombone.

Whee! Hyperbole!

From the first note, their latest concert proved to redefine musical excellence

That is a strong statement! I mean, there's like lots of other outstanding orchestras in this country alone who...oh, wait, were you using hyperbole again! Outstanding!

and coincidentally cause the Heymann's thermostats to tremble.

Whee! Hyperbole! Do you know any other rhetorical devices? No? Fuck.

Focusing on the orchestral music of Russia, specifically that of Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff and Mussorsky,

I think you spelled "Mussorgsky" wrong, but, transliteration being what it is, so be it.

Maestro Mariusz Smolij and his musicians presented as flawless a performance as any music lover could ask.

"As flawless a performance as any music lover could ask." Literally! Literally? Literally!

Beginning with the opening selection, Tchaikovsky's Coronation March, there was not a relaxed bone anywhere in the audience.

I'm not a doctor; I don't even play one on TV. But my limited biological understanding is that bones cannot relax. Muscles, sure. Bones are pretty much hard matter...wait, is this hyperbole again? Well done! There's no way to overuse that rhetorical device! (Much like snark...)

Even in those measures when the music had a pastoral calmness, the exactitude of every note

The exactitude? Really?

in the performance improved everyone's posture, somehow to mirror the superb posture of the quality to which the orchestra's efforts reached.

The...posture of the quality to which...what? I don't know what that means. I don't know if what you wrote means anything. At all.

As formidable as the musicians have become,

The musicians are scary? Foreboding? Causing apprehension?

much must be also said about the ingeniousness of the ASO's staff. These folks have done what every orchestra in the United States should do - they have taken "classical music"

Oh, I fucking love scare quotes.

off its pedestal

Off of its pedastal?

and created educational programs that balances the instrumental brilliance of its performers.

While this seems like a noble pursuit, I have to point out that "programs" agree with "balance". "Program" would agree with "balances". If you need a grammar book, Mr/Ms writer or editor, there are several I can recommend. Mrs. Arepo favors the Chicago Manual of Style.

They have brought music to the schools, to the street corners, parks and to the festivals and by doing so have markedly increased the public's appreciation of the orchestra's music.

I wholeheartedly support this kind of effort.

Even on a weekend evening when the Cajuns are playing a home game and the Tigers are on television, the house was pretty well filled. To executive director Denise Melancon and the remainder of the staff as well as to the ASO's board, bravos and bravas to all concerned!

LSU got beat down by Georgia. I don't know who the Cajuns are, presumably some local outfit. Still, it's heartening to know that during football season there are a few hundred or so Louisianians who go to "classical music" [sic] concerts.

The standout piece of the evening was the three movements of the pianist/composer Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2. Featuring the enormous talent of guest pianist Antonio de Cristaphano, the performance touched every emotion in the musical lexicon.

Lexicons are usually about...words, not emotions. Still, analogy accepted, if his enormous talent actually touched (?) every emotion in the...emoticon?

Its touch was secure, bold and assured, as well as gentle. De Cristaphano is a pianist of monumental proportion.

He's...really...fat? Or...hyperbole?

The gentleman literally commanded the piano with the calm assurance of an admiral balanced by the sure power of a chief boatswain's mate.

Okay. I'm repeating myself here but LITERALLY DOES NOT MEAN FIGURATIVELY.

Regardless of the composition, Rachmininoff is a tough musical nut to crack. I know of few composers who can employ all 88 keys in one composition. He does!

WOW!

Rachminoff's hands could stretch out in an interval of 13 keys, from a C to a C in the next octave and then to the A in the next octave! With his king-sized hands and peninsular fingers, technical difficulty was certainly not troubling to him at all. That was why his piano works are so difficult and impractical for those with small hands, that is, for those pianists with "normal" hands.

Um, okay? Yes, he had big hands. And again with the scare quotes?

The pianist caught the composer's "Russianness,"

I don't even want to go there.

his love of the melancholy, especially in the second Adagio movement. He did so without ignoring the lyrical, melodious, exotic and expressive aspects

Which are apparently not part of "Russianness"? Whoa. Those damn Russians are not lyrical at all.

of Rachmaninoff's musical personality so dominant in the Allegro third movement. The guest performer, in recognition of the lengthy thunder of the audience's standing ovation, then performed an encore, part of Rocky's

Rocky?

or

Opus 6 to be played with one hand. What de Cristaphano did with one hand would easily flummox a pianistic octopus.

Hey! Hyperbole!

Since the audience was so enthusiastic in their appreciation, Maestro Smolij was unable to point out the superior solo work of a pair of his musicians, oboist Perry Trosclair and horn maestro Rod Lauderdale. Their work certainly added to the performance's luster. Oh, and by the way, thanks for the "A," Perry.

Is...is he your teacher? I hope he's your horn instructor and not your grammar teacher.

As beautifully performed as the Rachmaninoff was, as an educator my favorite piece was the closing Pictures at an Exhibition.




Mussorsky's composition is wonderful, but considering its 16 movements, it can produce a drowsy stupor in almost everyone, until

Almost everyone. Not me, though. But almost everyone. Hyperbole? Mmm, on the verge, perhaps.

... well, wait, until it's performed by the ASO. Considering the fact that Mussorsky wrote his Pictures after visiting an art museum, why the heck not show some pictures?

Wow. That is a novel idea. Pictures...with pictures.

Smolij and his faithful sidekick,

Sidekick? Holy back-handed compliment, Batman!

Melancon, contacted the art teachers at Ascension Day School, Our Lady of Fatima Elementary and Paul Breaux Middle to sort of reverse engineer the Russian. Their students listened to the music and then prepared their visual images of that which the music inspired. As the musicians performed the music, visuals of the young artists' renditions were projected as a Power Point onto a screen suspended behind the orchestra. Like I mentioned earlier, these folks take their genius quite seriously.

I don't know what that last sentence means, sorry. Sounds like a cool idea, though.

Treat yourselves by attending the ASO's next performance. For that matter, it isn't too late to pick up a couple of season tickets. You'll thank yourself.

I'm all for championing "classical music" (as it were). I'm also all for writing. And even-handed use of hyperbole.

(Thanks to anzu for the tip.)

6 comments:

Danny Liss said...

I don't know why I seem to make more comments about sports than I do about music, but the Cajuns are from the University of Louisiana, Lafayette. They beat Arkansas State with two late 4th quarter touchdowns. I'm sure that had he been there, the reviewer would have said something to the effect of "The Cajuns made the fans literally hold their breath until the final score with just 32 seconds left."

Sator Arepo said...

Ah, that's what I kind of figured. But thanks for the info. We...get spoiled in Big-12 land sometimes.

anzu said...

Heh heh. I knew you guys would have fun with this. :)(Actually, Oboeinsight should get credit. That is where I read the excerpt about the frying an egg on a trombone.)

I was hoping you would provide us with pictures of a)an egg frying on a trombone (particularly since I can't imagine where on a trombone one would fry an egg...), and b)a pianistic octopus. I can't decide whether that means an octopus shaped like a piano, or an octopus who plays the piano. Maybe the latter.

Sator Arepo said...

Both "fried egg trombone" and "pianistic octopus" returned zero interesting Google Image results. Sorry, anzu. Maybe next time.

Gustav said...

I can't believe that I missed the greatest concert of all-time, performed by the most super-duperest musicians ever! Damn.

Tim said...

My god, that may be the worst piece of music criticism I've ever read. You were too kind!