@!#?@! What in the hell is that "boing"?

What's the most important part of music review, you might ask? It's a good question. The who, what, when, where, or possibly the why?

Those things are nice, but they don't get to the heart of what it is to attend a classical music concert.

No, it's all about the setting and the mood. Bring the reader into the seat of the reviewer to experience the beauty and grandeur of watching an entire symphony orchestra in action.

Concert review: Conductor Jahja Ling impressive at RPO concert
Anna Reguero, Democrat and Chronicle, August 6, 2010

For future concerts, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra might want to add to its pre-concert announcements.

Really? Why might they want to do that?

It could go something like this: Will all musicians please turn off any metronomes, tuning devices — and cell phones?

"Musicians," always leaving their metronomes running.


So, really, how about this impressive performance from Jahja Ling?

Guest conductor Jahja Ling had just cut off the orchestra for a large break in the second movement of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 17
during Wednesday evening's concert at Hochstein.

Ah, the glorious K. 453 in G major, with the somewhat unusual sub-dominant slow movement. Lovely little concerto...

Ling's wife, pianist Jessie Chang, was about to begin her cadenza.

A husband and wife cast as conductor and soloist. Seemingly the perfect set up for a truly magical, and not at all unusual, evening.

Great set up...what happened next?

That's when a "boing" interrupted the silence.

A 'what' interrupted the silence?

And then another "boing."

A "boing"?

figure boing: Watch out for that snake!

And another.

What in the hell is a boing?

Its origin unknown,...

Sounds like aliens.

figure x-file: There's been another unsubstantiated UFO sighting in the heartland of America. We've got to get there right away.

...the audience scanned the hall to find the culprit. Was it a metronome? A timer?

I dunno. Maybe it was a violin dancing with a saxophone...

figure unexplained noise: Now, that's just silly.

In any case, I just can't wait to find out what happens next.

And what about the poor soloist for pity's sake!?

Chang kept her concentration and continued through her cadenza,...

Whew. A consummate professional, to say the least. Truly she is a hero to have kept her cool in such trying times.

...which showed off her light and sparkling touch, perfect for Mozart.

Who has time for a review of the performance at a time like this?

Get on with it, man. What of the mysterious "boing"?

By the end of her cadenza, the "boing" continued on.

The suspense is killing me.

So did the orchestra, ignoring the extraneous noise as they sailed into the work's final movement.

They're on a boat?

The ushers finally walked around the hall, trying to locate the noise.

Isn't always the extras who get killed first in these types of concerts?

That's when I noticed principal bassist Colin Corner...

@!#?@! It's always the bassist!

....shrugging and shooting worried looks at his stand partner. Could it be that the sound was coming from his case, sitting behind him on top of a spare piano on the side of Hochstein's stage?

figure bassist: "It grew louder -- louder -- louder! ...They heard! -- they suspected! -- they KNEW! -- they were making a mockery of my horror!"


"Villains!" he shrieked, "dissemble no more! I admit the deed! -- tear open my case! -- here, here! -- it is the boinging of his hideous heart!"

During a few measures of rest near the end of the concerto, Corner handed over his bass to go silence the "boing" song. It turns out it was an alert feature on his cell phone.

Well, that's rather anti-climactic.

Was it at least an alert feature of DOOM?

Rather than roast Corner, this mistake was likely because Hochstein does not have backstage space to keep instrument cases.

Ah, I guess that explains that. Everything's been wrapped up into a nice little package.

I'm glad that's over with. So, onto the concert.

At the Eastman Theatre, the musicians have both a downstairs green room and space behind the stage shell for storage.

I see. [Looks at watch.]

Any cell phones to ring in cases and bags would not be heard on stage.

Really? They wouldn't be heard on stage at the Eastman Theatre?

Valiantly, Ling — for whom this performance was a possible audition for the music director opening (he's currently music director of the San Diego Symphony) — didn't flinch and continued to steer the orchestra confidently.

Not just a guest conductor, but an audition to become the new music director of this ensemble? And you wrote about boings?! @!#?@!, indeed.

He had great chemistry with Chang.

Really? He had great chemistry with his wife?

When Chang's first entrance moved a little more swiftly than the orchestra, Ling immediately looked back at her to adjust.

Well, recovering from a "boing" of this magnitude is sure to leave at least a few scars.

She adjusted, too. They were a great pair.

What was she playing again?

Ling's chemistry with the orchestra was also noticeable.

Noticeable? Do you think he's cheating with the viola section?

Though he lacks the graceful arm movements and posture of some of the other candidates, he has a friendly and encouraging presence on stage.

Well, you know, grace is a tough one. You either have grace or you don't. Grace isn't something you can pick up at the market.

He blazed through Mozart's Overture to The Marriage of Figaro and also conducted a high voltage version,...

So, over 600 V?

...if not overly so, of Dvorak's Symphony No. 8 without a score after intermission.

Did he blaze through the Mozart the way you blazed through the meaningful part of this review?

The musicians let their opinions be known by sitting when asked to stand during the multiple ovations at the concert's end to direct the applause at Ling.

embeddence awesome: Is it just me, or does Q*bert have a legitimate case against the Snorks for copyright infringement?

Just in case you hadn't read the original review yet, of the 12 paragraphs (newspaper paragraphs), 8 were about the "boing". Eight.



Sator Arepo said...

I certainly remember Qbert as being...nicer-looking. Nostalgia sucks ass.

Pragpro said...

Marvelous, Gregor, simply maver... What is that noise.?Is that a "boing."

AnthonyS said...

8 to 12? That is a dubiously high "boing to content" ratio.

I'm totally going to start using this phrase to expurgate extraneous paragraphs in student writing from here on.

"Your 'boing to content' ratio is too high; delete paragraphs 2 - 3. No one cares where Debussy was born, as that is what we have the Google for."

Sator Arepo said...

One hopes, of course, but expects it not to be the case, that he was from Bussy.

Anonymous said...

I think the "boing to content" ratio here is off the charts:


Seriously, why can't classical music be so cool?!