Or: There and Back Again
This little review shifts verb tenses in order to effect a tesseract. Or an exercise in experimental usage. Or...to convey a sense of motion...? I don't know. I'm not the world's best prose stylist, by far. But if something seems amiss, I go running:
"...whichever tense the writer chooses he should use throughout. Shifting from one tense to another gives the appearance of uncertainty and irresolution." (3rd Edition, p. 31)
MSO Shines in Saturday Show
One of these days, maybe not this year or next or even the year after that, Muncie residents are going to wish they had spent time listening to the Muncie Symphony Orchestra under conductor Bohuslav Rattay.
A bold prediction, tempered by absolute hedging about when it will come to pass. Couched in the future, the sentence nonetheless foreshadows the temporal adventure ahead ("One of these days...will...wish they had...").
Because, as much as some may hate to believe it, one day a larger city’s orchestra is going to snatch him up from under the MSO’s tutelage and all of East Central Indiana will refer to his tenure as the “gold ol' days.”
The temporal ambiguity (and point-of-view) is slowly introduced. The predictions ("is going to...will refer to...") are mediated by the imposition of the present at the beginning ("...as much as some may hate to believe..."), situating the reader in the current attitudes of (one assumes) residents of East Central Indiana.
Fun Fact: Residents of East Central Indiana traditionally use the unusual colloquialism "gold ol' days," which 1) uses the contraction of "old" to prevent the untoward elision of consonants threatened by the repeated "d" joining "old" and "days," and 2) replaces "good" in the common phrase "good ol' days" with "gold." The reason for the latter remains unclear; however, recent research speculates that this oddity of speech is accounted for by the fact that "gold" is a common word, coupled with the ongoing problem that Spellcheck does not understand idioms.
Rattay is that good of a conductor.
Ah, an unqualified "is"; present tense, here we come! [The construction "that good of a..." is irksome for some reason, but I cannot substantiate my displeasure. Anyone on rules of usage?]
And his greatness was especially clear during the MSO’s latest concert Saturday evening in Emens Auditorium.
Oh, dear, back to "was" again.
“The Tale of the Three Strausses” was the theme of the night, with the well-known “On the beautiful Blue Danube” beginning the evening in a unique and wonderful way.
We seem now to be situated solidly in the past tense. Or are we? (Dun dun dunnn!) Why use "beginning" instead of "began" except throw into question the temporal situation of the reader (or reviewer)? Also, the clever uncapitalized "beautiful" in the title is a wry comment on the state of the Danube today.
Rattay started the piece off slowly, a rarity with American orchestras which typically begin the piece with a bombastic flair.
Considering how the waltz begins, this 1) seems unlikely, and 2) is totally unsubstantiated.
The MSO’s process allowed the audience to tune their ears to the fanciful movements in the piece.
Assuming there was a "process" (strategy? approach? reading? interpretation?), was it the orchestra's or the conductor's? Also, there's only one movement in the piece; clearly something else was intended instead of the usual musical parlance, but...what? Finally, three uses of "piece" in the last two sentences alone gets redundant really quickly. At least we're in past-tense-concert-review mode.
The same was true with the “Voices of Spring” piece performed after the intermission.
There's "piece" again. And it's awkward; "'Voices of Spring' piece"?
This time, the orchestra began with the alert attention that was more than loud noise.
I have no idea what this sentence means.
It was the appropriate start for a Straussian piece so well known.
Hold off on "piece" for a bit, hyphenate (?) "well-known," explain what "alert attention that was more than loud noise" means and explain why it was an appropriate beginning for "Voices of Spring" (because it is "well known" [sic]?) and we'll have ourselves a sentence. Moreover, "Straussian" makes it sound like the piece (sorry) was like Strauss' work. "...a Strauss piece" would have sufficed, I think.
Sarah Hibbard was the guest artist for the evening, using her beautiful soprano...
The sudden switch of tenses back to the present in mid-sentence was appropriate considering the immediacy of the...what? Maybe the rest of the paragraph will help.
Sarah Hibbard was the guest artist for the evening, using her beautiful soprano to add more flavor to the orchestra’s interpretation of Richard Strauss. Although she did not seem as strong a soprano needed to perform “Vier Letzte Lieder," at times her voice and the orchestra’s collaboration was unbelievably beautiful and well worth the price of admission.
Wow. At least we're back in the past tense, I guess.
It is with the final piece, also by Richard Strauss, where Rattay shows his ability to take musical risks that are intriguing and enjoyable.
It is? Now? Suddenly? Is the concert still going on? Piece?
As was the case with Miles Davis during his “Kind of Blue” days, he encourages the musicians to bring their own voices to the performance.
He also transitions these amazing artists beautifully in between movements,
He transitions...the performers?
...keeping the performance in a classical realm rather than a New Age version of Strauss.
I am so fucking lost. The present sure is confusing. Miles Davis? New Age Strauss?!
Figure 2: The dawning of the Age of Aquarius?
He is incredibly expressive during the piece without being overbearing or cartoonish in his body movements. He truly feels the music and the musicians do as well. The performance from all involved was simply great.
Ahh! Back to the past! What the hell?
Unfortunately, not many community members or BSU students were on hand to see and hear this very good orchestra. Not many cities of Muncie’s size can say they house a high-class orchestra and one has to wonder what it will take for people in Muncie to celebrate the fact that they do. Hopefully, it won’t be after Rattay has moved on to his next orchestra.
Goodness gracious. It's like some kind of swiftly tilting planet.