12/14/09

Patriotic Concert Features Vaporous Singer...AND SO MUCH MORE!

We here at The Detritus Review are aware that titles are a difficult thing, and that for music reviews the critic may not even supply the title, leaving that job for an editor with an impeccable sense of the riveting attention-grabber.

They are often innocuous and focus on some sort elementary word play, or painfully point out the obvious (a sort of 5-word abstract).

But, this gem, from the Omaha World-Herald deserves some special recognition.

Review: Symphony puts ‘pow’ in patriotic program

Where to start. First, the phraseology of "puts the ___ in ___" implies a certain kind of pun.

For example -- "...puts the fun back in fundamentalism."

or

figure delicious pun: Wait, there's not hyphen in the word "adolt".

Get it?

Clever, I know.

So, why the use of the word "pow"? Whose letters neither appear in "patriotic" nor "program". Yes, you have the alliterative quality of the 'p', but is that really enough? I say no!

Surely then, there music be something in the review itself about an explosion or something, right?

Let's check, shall we.

Were those bombs bursting in the air Friday night over the Holland Performing Arts Center?

Good question...I was just asking the same thing. Hmmm...the title must have foreshadowed this event, being the clever title that it is, so I will answer quite confidently, "Yes, those were bombs bursting over the arts center."

Nah, it was just the Omaha Symphony’s large percussion section, whacking away at nearly two hours worth of patriotic songs.

Nah? But the title promised "pow"...although I suppose I am relieved that the Holland Performing Arts Center wasn't under attack on Friday.

For its first pops concert of the 2009-10 season, the symphony under guest conductor Michael Krajewski presented a program called “Patriotic Celebration.”

I guess that explains the last part of the title.

The performance, which will be repeated tonight and Sunday afternoon, is a real flag-waving sonic extravaganza that includes just about everything except an F-16 flyover.

Oh boy! Just how I like my patriotic celebrations -- as real flag-waving sonic extravaganzas!!!

figure flag-waving: The Omaha Symphony on Friday.

And, oh, you mentioned something about an F-16. I'm not sure that'd fit in the hall, but that would make one hell of a pow. [Rereads sentence.]

Crap. No fighter jet. What kind of fucking patriotic celebration is this anyway?

A socialist one, I'd wager. Fuck.

figure socialist: First he ruins our economy, and then takes away our guns (or so I've been told), and now this socialist has taken away all the F-16s from our symphony concerts.

But even without sonic booms and afterburners, this is a performance designed to make a lot of noise.

Ohh..."lots of noise". It's loud. Loud = "pow".
Okay. I forgive you. I guess we can all just go home.

...

Wait, there's still more review?

Sure, why not. It's still early...let's see what else you've got.


The program itself is the musical equivalent of a giant, omnibus Defense Department spending bill.

No joke, this might possibly be the greatest analogy ever. I'm glad I kept reading...but I've been thinking....

What music is being performed in this "patriotic celebration"?


It not only includes selections intended to satisfy every constituency but also strange juxtapositions of songs and medleys.

Strange juxtapositions? I am intrigued.

For instance, the orchestra played the themes of the five military branches with enough spit and polish to make a Marine Corps drill sergeant snap to attention.

The orchestra played with "spit and polish"?

figure awesome: Spit N' Polish, I love those guys.

It then followed with a selection of peace songs that included, among other things, the John Lennon anthem “Give Peace a Chance.”

Peace?! That's not patriotic. Is this some sort of commie orchestra?

Similarly, sparkling virtuoso orchestra arrangements of Morton Gould’s “American Salute” and Leonard Bernstein’s “America” were followed with saccharine, flag-on-the-sleeve renditions of Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.” and Barry Manilow’s “Let Freedom Ring.”

It was a real mishmash.

Yes, four songs about saluting America, asking God to bless America, extolling one of its virtues through metaphor, and the piece called "America" do make up quite the odd grouping.

Yet there was also much to admire in this program.

Excellent. Wait...[rereads sentence]. This part of the program wasn't to be admired then. So not only is the orchestra socialist, but the reviewer obviously hates America.

I'm not sure I can take much more of this. I can take a lot in the line of this job, but I will not stand idly by as this man besmirches Barry Manilow singing about the supreme awesomeness of America. Fucking commies everywhere!

...[Calms down.]...remembers Detritus oath. "Despite what you think, there aren't fucking commies everywhere."

[Breaths in.]

[Breaths out.]

Friday’s concert opened with a glistening and heroic reading of John Williams’ “Liberty”...

That's "Liberty Fanfare" for those of you keeping score at home...

...and continued with a sincere and emotional performance of the national anthem,...

Sincere? As opposed to all those insincere performances...like this one?



figure R. Kelly: "Clap your hands, y'all". Really?

...or this one?


figure Roseanne: Well, this one is kind of awesome.

...for which we all stood in time-honored tradition.

A selection of George Gershwin’s patriotic Tin Pan Alley tunes — “Strike Up the Band,” “Love Is Sweeping the Country” and “Of Thee I Sing” — sounded overly weighty with the huge orchestra and chorus. These are songs that needed to snap and crackle.


figure rice krispies: Although he hides it well, Pop can't help but feel a little left out.

But the orchestra quickly turned around with joyous and enthusiastic readings of George Cohan’s “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag.” Several of Irving Berlin’s popular soldier songs — “Over There,” “Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning” and “This Is the Army, Mr. Jones” — were likewise performed with energy and humor.

Oh god, how I wish I could have been at this concert.

The revelation of the evening was Willett, whose flexible voice easily covered two octaves. He made a lasting impression in “Momma, Look Sharp,” from the musical “1776,” delivering his heart-rending lines with a vaporous falsetto.

Vaporous falsetto? Nothing like finishing off the review with bizarre word choice. Just a couple of definitions of "vaporous" from our good friends at dictionary.com:

3. producing or giving off vapor
4. dimmed or obscured with vapor
5. unsubstantial; diaphanous; airy
6. vaguely formed, fanciful, or unreliable

...delivering his heart-rending lines with vaguely formed, obscured falsetto, while giving off steam.

This review has everything! Finish it off for us, Mr. Pitcher.

The choruses, for their parts, distinguished themselves with their powerful, passionate performances.

Exactly. For these reasons, this review has won our coveted Crappy Review Title of the Week!

figure your review: Eggceptional, indeed.

6 comments:

Empiricus said...

Thanksgiving programming has got a ways to go. Seems like performing organizations either let go the whole turkey thing, or do it like this one, with a super-dense patriotic theme.

And "Spit N' Polish": holy moly.

Empiricus said...

Oh, and WTF is going on with that title? It's like extremely-condensed, minimalist poetry, or something, which is weird. I like your breakdown, but I think there's still something to be discovered. I mean, we all know the "You can't spell music without scum," paradigm. But insert a non sequitur, and you've got another beast entirely, like, "You can't spell music without granite countertops," or something like that.

Gustav said...

You're definitely right, E, about there deeper levels in titles this bad. But man, with a concert as vaporous as this one, who has the time for that.

AnthonyS said...

Jesus Jones, boys. Is it just me, or have you guys really stepped it up lately? I was hooting-- yes, literally hooting-- in my office. The students thought I had gone insane.

So much to choose from here, but I think the flag waving dog takes the cake as far as images go.

I'm thrilled that DR has an oath; that the oath involves the denial of communist conspiracies is even better.

Echo E: Spit n' Polish.. just, wow.

Word verification fun:

Onasqu: Putting the "onasqu" in the Official Red Ryder Carbine-action Two-Hundred Shot Range Model Air Rifle!

Fred said...

I myself am looking for a concert that puts the "riot" back in "patriotic".

Sator Arepo said...

Well played, sir.