Interchangable Prepostions; Dead Editors

It's delightful, occasionally, to peruse some of the smaller papers' reviews. Also delightful is encountering the fanciful names of said papers; in this case, the Steamboat Pilot & Today.

This puff piece was, really, just fine. It could've used the light, deft touch of the practiced pen of someone perhaps accustomed to tidying up the quickly composed prose of feature writers. Oh, if only such a position existed!

But, really, all prepositions being equal...

Orchestra inspired in opener, Margaret Hair, Steamboat Pilot & Today

A trio of solo performances from...


...from guest violinist Stephanie Sant’Ambrogio and a spirited rendition of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 made for a smooth opening night

(Passive voice, but whatever.)

for the Steamboat Springs Orchestra’s 2009-10 season Saturday at Strings Music Pavilion.

Also, a delightfully named Pavilion!

Sant’Ambrogio and her father, John, who is the orchestra’s principal cellist, started the program with their first public performance of Vivaldi’s Concerto in B-flat Major for Violin, Cello and Orchestra.

[I'd omit "who is" as unnecessary, but I don't get paid by the word. Er, or at all.]

The orchestra [was?] appropriately laid back for most of the piece, lightly complementing the Sant’Ambrogios’ natural similarities in playing style.

"Natural similarities" of father and daughter? Sounds more like "nurture." Is string technique inherited?

There aren’t too many hints on how loud to play and when...

"How loud to play and when"? Er, dynamics? Also: "hints on"?

I can understand not wanting to saddle the unwashed, ignorant masses of Steamboat Springs, Colorado with a bunch of Super-Technical Music Jargon Words, but let's give them a little credit. Or better, a little prose style.

...in the classical sheet music of Vivaldi’s time;

Worst. Phrase. Ever.

that had no impact on the easy interchanges between the featured violinist and cellist, who gave a seamless performance.

The lack of dynamic markings didn't hinder the soloists' interpretation? A breakthrough in Baroque performance practice!


On? In?

On Franz Schubert’s Konzertstuck in D Major for Violin and Orchestra, Stephanie Sant’Ambrogio gave a strong interpretation

Okay. Good enough, but where's the period indicating that...wait, there's more sentence?

...of the classical piece.

I guess there really wasn't more sentence. Huh.


For?! (In? During? Throughout?)

For Fritz Kreisler’s Tambourin Chinois, the guest soloist breezed through the choppiest patches of the virtuoso piece...

Virtuostic? Adjective?

with what seemed to be technical ease.

As opposed to metaphorical or allegorical ease? Interpretive ease?

While the first part of the program was solid, the biggest wave of energy on the night...

I like (honestly!) that the first part of the program was solid, and the second a wave (probably really a particle/wave) of energy.

While the first part of the program was solid, the biggest wave of energy on...


...on the night came with...


...with the last movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4, a section SSO Music Director Ernest Richardson described in a program break as pure joy.

But not as "pure joy," I infer.

The rest of the group must have agreed, offering a rendition of that...


...that last movement that filled the Strings Music Pavilion with sound for the first time in...


...in the concert program.

The rest of the program was silent? Pantomimed?

Richardson has a definite gift for giving the audience access points to classical music,

"Access points?" Okay.

...and he did that with quick, sometimes humorous descriptions of each movement in...


...in the symphony.

*deep breath*

It gives the listener something to look [listen?] for and hold on to,


...and reminds the audience that classical composers had more interesting inspiration to...

To? Uh...for, maybe? Or maybe not. What-

...to their music than we might remember.

I don't know what that means. I'm not sure if that sentence means anything.

What is it assumed that we "might" "remember" "classical composers" "had interesting inspiration" "to"?


With each concert, the Steamboat Springs Orchestra shows its ability to tap into more and more of that inspiration.


Normally, I'd probably leave out the "for more information, go to..." tag, but this one contains a hidden gem!

The group has three more concerts with $20-per-person advance ticket prices and two fancier soirees scheduled for the season,

Must...not...point out...missing accent...italicize...foreign words...gnnnnh...

...with classical repertoire standpoint pieces such as Dvorak’s “New World Symphony” and Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 on the program lists. For more information about the 2009-10 season, go to www.steamboatorchestra.org.

"Classical repertoire standpoint pieces" is totally the name on my new punk band ensemble that I just imagined in to my head.

It's late, so here is a picture that is fun to look at:

Figure 0: Robert Fulton's Claremont, ?ca 1807


Danny Liss said...

1. There's nothing inherently wrong with passive voice.
2. That sentence isn't even in passive voice!

(Passive voice would be, "A smooth opening night was made by a trio of solo performances...")

The problem with the review is that it is almost entirely meaningless and either the writer knows nothing about classical music or they are assuming the readership knows less than nothing. Even if they'd followed every single one of the fake rules in Strunk & White, it would still be a terrible article.

Gustav said...

I think Danny's right about the passive voice. I believe there has to be both an auxiliary verb and the past participle (most of the time using 'was', as in Danny's example) to be in the passive voice. However, I am far from an expert on this.

Also, I'm pretty certain that soiree can be used in english without an accent over the 'e' being both an english word of foreign ancestry (no accent) and a foreign word (with accent).

In any case, excellent find, SA. I love the part about the wave -- I can only assume that the author had particle physics in mind when they wrote that sentence.

Sator Arepo said...

Grr. You're both right, of course about the passive voice. That'll teach me to write at 4 AM, sinuses be damned.

However, yeah. It IS clearly a puff piece, and they would have gotten away with it, too, with 10 minutes worth of copy editing.

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