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"...but why don't they ever smile?!"


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#1 Ligneo Fistula

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 21:05

...so was collective the cry from my two nephews at a recent concert!

 

I tried to explain that the orchestral musicians "are concentrating very, very hard on the music, each other and trying make sure they play in tune & in time so listening very carefully, all of which requires intense concentration".

 

However, they weren't having any of my hand-waving arguments!

 

*sigh*


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#2 dorfmouse

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 21:12

See if you can find an André Rieu concert to watch. The orchestra seems to enjoy themselves enormously!
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#3 Splog

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 22:08

I'm with your nephews on this one. :)


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#4 Arundodonuts

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 22:33

Try smiling whilst playing the oboe.


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#5 elemimele

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 23:17

Anyone playing a wind instrument has a definite disadvantage. Flautists always look like something from Nightmare Before Christmas or that advert for fabric conditioner. Brass players often look as though they're about to explode. Oboists always remind me of a giant aphid, just waiting to get at a leaf, or maybe a mosquito. I expect them to have large see-through wings somewhere. I'm biased, but at least some recorder players manage to look fairly normal while playing.

 

But everyone else should be able to look Happy (if appropriate). Dorfmouse is right: André Rieu and his orchestra can do it. Occasional outbreaks of smiling have been seen in the proms. Somewhere I have a link to a video clip of a soprano doing a cartwheel.


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#6 Maizie

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 07:48

I'm biased, but at least some recorder players manage to look fairly normal while playing.

Only some - one in particular I actually can't watch, because of the tendency to be looking around the audience making big eyes in one direction, while pointing the recorder in the other.  Some musicians (almost any instrument) move a lot, and those I can generally cope with, but if you're swaying over to the right, at least take your instrument with you :D


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#7 polkadot

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 08:57

Your nephews are very perceptive, they'll go far :D

 

I've never watched an André Rieu concert but I've just watched some clips on Youtube - gosh, don't they have fun!  Lovely to see the audience being so engaged (some of the clips at the Netherlands and Mexico concerts).

 

Shostakovich, The Second Waltz : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vauo4o-ExoY

 

La Paloma : https://www.youtube....h?v=R5L1UAGow3k

 

Although I did wonder if some members of the audience were planted :ninja:


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#8 chris13

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 10:13

Members of the John Wilson orchestra generally have  smiles on their faces.

 

If I were an orchestral musician and had to play Mahler or Shostrakovich I don't think I would be smiling ! Oops that let the cat out of the bag.


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#9 Saxwarbler

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 11:35

There used to be a second violinist in a well-known orchestra whose place was on the end of a row. She clearly had visions of being a concert soloist, big eyes, toothy smiles and virtual dancing. You'd think it would be a good thing but she stood out for all the wrong reasons and I found myself thinking 'you really do fancy yourself, don't you, love?'


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#10 Arundodonuts

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 12:55

Oboists look like aphids eh? I think what you will normally notice is a generally "worried" countenance.

 

I've wondered much the same as Maizie when it comes to recorder players. Why do they seem to wave them around like that?


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#11 Norway

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 13:17

But I'm not green and I don't have antennae! Oboists look stressed out because they are, and if they're not, then they should be because anything can go wrong at any time. Some are on medication. Blow that for a game of soldiers! I've retired to a life of euphonium playing in a mixed ability fun community brass band - we smile alright! It is funny to do concerts with no stress whatsoever - I always thought the stress was compulsory!
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#12 mel2

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 13:50

I don't trust people who smile a lot - it looks insincere. I'd prefer a look of warmth and serenity.
The examiner who was overly jolly and beaming gaily then proceeded to fillet my performance in no uncertain terms. There is nothing wrong with an expression of calm engagement which to me suggests the performer is in a state of flow. Don't get me started on those who train children's choirs and demand wide-eyed, exaggerated animation from their charges (although a slight smile does help intonation).
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#13 corenfa

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 14:18

I don't see why they have to smile. It's enough if they just don't look cross or grouchy. I hate over-emoted performances. I think the time for smiling is when bowing at the end or when coming on stage.
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#14 Saxwarbler

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 19:04

I don't trust people who smile a lot ...

My brother-in-law, a retired senior civil servant and lifelong Labour voter, once said that about his new 'boss' when he worked in Whitehall. The boss in question was a bloke called Tony. ;-)


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#15 elemimele

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 21:21

OK, since this is getting serious, I'll confess to a life-long distaste for any music labelled "Scherzo", ever since a music-teacher told me it meant "a joke". Because frankly I've never come across a Scherzo that makes me laugh. Music can create a lot of emotions, it can make me happy, but laugh - no, never. My feeling was that if the average musicians idea of a joke is a typical Scherzo, then someone hasn't got out enough.

 

I'm not in favour of over-emotional gushing, but nor am I greatly in favour of musicians who seem to take themselves too seriously and stand in depressed rows when they're playing or singing something that's intrinsically not a gloomy piece (I'll allow gloom for Dido's lament, but Baroque music was not written as an exercise in trigonometry, and therefore can be played without an expression of painful concentration).

 

I suppose that what I mean is this: forced gravity is as false and off-putting as forced levity.

 

Here, in evidence, is a reasonable example of levity not taken to excess: a Polish university choir singing the theme from the Muppet show.


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