12/11/09

I Don't Think That Word Means What You Think It Means

Clearly the writer, editor [sic], and title-providing person collaborated closely on this substantial and imaginative effort. I guess they assume nobody reads the Christmas concert reviews.

Quality of Songs makes Holiday Pops show pop

You cannot make this shit up. Really? The Pops show popped? Really.

The Columbus Symphony Orchestra's annual Holiday Pops concerts are always fun for the whole family, and this season's edition was no exception.

I'd like to submit that this could be true, providing one is properly prepared.

Figure 1: A contemporary American preparing to attend a holiday concert. This method is also recommended for Christmas shopping.

Figure 1a (Anhang): A friendly suggestion for the more conservative reader.

However, let's take a look at that opening salvo again.

The Columbus Symphony Orchestra's annual Holiday Pops concerts are always fun for the whole family, and this season's edition was no exception.

Wow. That is a magnificent introductory sentence. The Christmas concert is always great--and it was this year too!

Good thing that's getting archived forever.

Fine. So...the concert...

Tonight's well-attended show in the Ohio Theatre featured lots of singers, dancers, actors, decorations and videos on a big screen...

I guess that in better economic conditions all of that would have been live.

Wait, what?

Tonight's well-attended show in the Ohio Theatre featured lots of singers, dancers, actors, decorations and videos on a big screen, with the orchestra scrunched in the middle.

The orchestra was in the middle of a screen? That doesn't make sense.

Oh, wait. The singers, dancers, actors, and decorations weren't on the screen? That makes far more sense.

It, however, begs the question: Why did you write a sentence that said that they were?

All of which was nice, but what makes this show special is the quality of the songs and music chosen by conductor Ronald Jenkins.

Two things to note: First, there is actually an assertion about "what makes [sic?] this show special" made; Second, the abrupt and pointless changes of tense are sort of nauseating.

Nevertheless. Apparently it is the quality of the "songs and music" (oh...songs and music) that makes [made?] this show special.

Got it.

No, sorry; back up. "Songs and music?" It's hard to tell if that's dumb or just really lazy.

Figure 2 (Imaginary Salad Review): "The lettuce and food were tasty!"

The first half of the concert leaned more toward the classical side of Christmas music, while the second half contained more contemporary carols.

The use of "more" in each half of this sentence is superfluous; either phrase could pretty much do without. However, it's the use of "more" in each half of the sentence that makes the writing flat and...annoying.

Also, contemporary carols are apparently not "classical" music/songs? I guess "classical" is being used narrowly to describe a stylistic period, which would explain the above distinction. Right?

After a jaunty Holiday Pops Overture, the Columbus Symphony Chorus shone with Sing unto God and Hallelujah, Amen from Handel's oratorio Judas Maccabaeus.

But those are Baroque p...ah, never mind. Kind of mildly special, I suppose, since obviously they could have played the other...

Jenkins joked that the latter piece is known in choral circles as "the other Hallelujah Chorus."

Hilarious. Choral humor is outstanding.

Coincidentally, the yearly vernal festivities musicians celebrate after the last Holiday concerts finally end are known as "the other Rite of Spring."

Next came the latter two movements of Vivaldi's Winter from The Four Seasons...

Not that special. I guess not playing the entire concerto as intended is kind of special, if by "special" one means "stupid." Next?

Next, Jenkins and the chorus introduced 21st century choral works set to centuries-old texts.

That's unusual enough to be special, potentially. (Because it's the quality of the music chosen that makes the concert so special! Right?) So: Who were they by? What were they like?

They weren't bad, but they weren't new holiday favorites, either.

And?

The second half of the concert...

And nothing? Nice fuckin' review. Guess they weren't special enough to merit mention, or even description.

The second half of the concert began with the chorus, children and audience singing O Come All Ye Faithful, The First Noel and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.

Oh, the column inches that would have been wasted describing new music were reserved to name Christmas carols. That makes sense.

The biggest applause was reserved for one of the best moments:

That seems odd!

...when a youngster leads the symphony in Leroy Anderson's Sleigh Ride.

Wait, what?

The biggest applause was reserved for one of the best moments: when a youngster leads the symphony in Leroy Anderson's Sleigh Ride.

Dude, now you're chasing tenses and aspects. Been Christmas shopping?

Dublin Coffman High School freshman Nick Swanson (who plays flute in the school band) did such a good job - right down to the whip cues - that Jenkins let him keep the baton.

Schmaltzy and cute, but not really musically special. Right? Because it was the quality of the "songs and music" that were supposed to make the concert so...special. Did that assertion ever bear out? At all?

Remarkably, being squeezed in didn't affect the symphony's sound.

What?

Right in the middle of describing [sic] the special [sic] program, a quick acoustical evaluation? Okay...

The standout music was the cinematic soundtrack to The Night Before Christmas, composed by Randol Bass. Linda Dorff narrated the Clement Moore poem, with the help of children from BalletMet.

More boring than special, and arguably of dubious quality. Standard Holilday Concert Fare, anyway. I'm thinking the review's initial superlative assessment was only tangentially related (at best) to the actual concert.

The show ended with a duet by a famous couple from the North Pole, who sang pretty well.

People in costume? Sang pretty well?! Well! That is special.

If you're five.

Figure 3: Here comes a special boy!

10 comments:

Gustav said...

the column inches that would have been wasted describing new music were reserved to name Christmas carols.

This was the problem with so many of the christmas concert reviews I've read. Just dispatch with everything that happens before the intermission and fast-forward onto the real holiday awesomeness, which is to say the christmas carols and the singalong!

I guess because the concerts are mostly pops oriented that we're not supposed to take them seriously? And therefore the reviews should be puff pieces as well?

btw, hi-fuckin'-larious stuff, SA.

Gustav said...

Also, in defense of the author, I've listened to the radio before, and I can assure you that not all songs are music.

Also also, I've eaten at Applebee's before, and it would seem that not all salads are food either.

Sator Arepo said...

"Omigod! The holiday concert review is in the paper today! I can't wait to read it because I'm dying to know WHICH UBIQUITOUS CHRISTMAS CAROLS WERE PERFORMED!"

Anonymous said...

dont you think that was a little harsh?

Sator Arepo said...

I suppose I think that the reduction of our most accessible public forum about music to ill-considered pablum reaps what it sows.

AnthonyS said...

Christmas concerts are the gifts that keep on giving...

Am I missing something about the twinkie in the hat?

Sator Arepo said...

AnthonyS:

You sure are. That's Philippe; he's an otter. He's five. Click the link when you have some time.

[Sheesh, some people.]

Gustav said...

SA: The link under the twinkie merely links to another copy of the photo -- should it have gone elsewhere? I would be very unhappy if I didn't get to see further exploits of the Cowboy Twinkie with Socks for Arms.

Sator Arepo said...

AnthonyS:

Fixed the link. Chose a good one for you (although when you have the time you should really read Achewood all the way through; it\s possibly the best thing going, webcomic-wise as they say, or should).

AnthonyS said...

Also:

The Columbus Symphony Orchestra's annual Holiday Pops concerts are always fun for the whole family.

I'm reminded of the great Jerry Seinfeld quote "There's no such thing as fun for the whole family".