The Art of the False Dichotomy


Viola? I hardly know her!

Review: Montgomery Symphony Orchestra
James Conley, Montgomery Advertiser, 4/27/2010

Although it contains plenty of attractive alliteration, something about this review sang out to me.

My suspicion is that Alabama, in an effort to stem the influx of arugula-chomping, sniffish elitists, has begun profiling anyone who could be reasonably construed to be a copy editor.

More jokes are made about the viola than any other orchestral instrument,...

This is possibly true.

...but there was no joking about the viola on Monday night at the Davis Theatre.

I seriously doubt that (see above).

Matthew Lipman was there as the viola soloist with the Montgomery Symphony for the orchestra’s final subscription concert of the season with Music Director Thomas Hinds conducting.

That certainly explains the introductory paragraph. But I'll play along:

Viola soloist, eh? Gosh! What's the deal with that?

A Chicago area high school senior, Lipman has already appeared in nationally prominent concert and broadcast venues,...

A prodigy of sorts, perhaps?

...and at age 18, he is this year’s winner of the Montgomery Symphony’s Blount-Slawson concerto competition.

That sounds more like a particle accelerator, but whatever.

Figure 1: Proposed Blount-Slawson CAD Accelerator (artist's conception)

He presented himself in Monday’s concert as a serious and seasoned soloist for Karl Stamitz’ “Concerto for Viola and Orchestra.”

So serious he played...Stamitz?

Figure 2: Daaaamn, player! (1745-1801)

(I'm not knocking the kid, now; who knows if he even selected the work? I'm just sayin' is all; Stamitz is about as serious as a stubbed toe.)

Part of the pleasure of his performance was hearing the viola as a featured instrument.

Yeah, a concerto. I got that part. Could you say something about this...this vee-oh-la?

Similar to – but larger than –violin, the viola has a deeper, warmer sound which Lipman masterfully capitalized on.

Larger than –violin, eh? That's pretty fucking large! I mean, everyone knows that the –violin is the largest violin of all!

Figure 3: This clever and courageous attempt at camouflage on the part of the copy editor above was, eventually, found out. Apparently.

The Stamitz concerto is one of a very few major works for viola solo.

Well, yeah! I mean besides the Hindemith (Kammermusik No. 5, op. 48), the Walton, the Bruch Romance, the Piston, the Milhaud...oh, the Bartok of course, two by Hoffmeister, and Telemann, obviously, about a thousand by Alessandro Rolla (1757-1841), and that nonsense by Berlioz. But other than that...

Also, I think Stamitz (Carl, that is) wrote three viola concerti. Usually the D major is the one you hear...was that the one they played here?


Rather than flashy pyrotechnics often association with other concertos,...

Figure 4: Another would-be disguised copy editor found out. See ya, fucko!

...the Stamitz piece has classical balance and form akin to music of his contemporaries Mozart and Haydn. Such music could result in being simply academic – but not under Lipman’s fingers.

That sounds almost like an apologia. But we're getting to the good part!

His playing was intelligent but very musical, especially in the soulful middle movement...

Really? Intelligent...but musical? Especially in the soulful part?

Well, I guess. Music is, after all, often association with emotion.

Figure 5: Obvious, but still pretty cool.


Gustav said...

Why would a viola player wear a shirt with a tenor clef on it?

Matt said...

I didn't choose the Stamitz ;)

Sator Arepo said...