August 03, 2003


Posted by shonk at 03:35 PM in Music | TrackBack

While attending the last performance of the season of the National Repertory Orchestra (NRO) in Breckenridge tonight, I noticed a few things that my egocentric nature compels me to share.

First, there are few things more annoying than someone repeatedly sniffing their nose while you're trying to listen to Mendelssohn. Part of the reason I noticed so many non-musical aspects of the experience was because this guy three seats down from me was constantly sniffing. *Sniff* *sniff* *sniff*...*sniff*, then repeat every 15 seconds. I don't know what the problem was, but it was loud enough that from 10 feet away I couldn't concentrate on what was otherwise a very enjoyable concert. And I don't mean to imply the guy didn't care about anybody around him, but if his nasal situation was really so horrific, why the hell is he going to a concert in the first place?

Second, there's no place on Earth that fulfills more stereotypes than a classical concert, especially this one. First of all, the audience is overwhelmingly white and middle-age or older. Being young and tall, I stuck out more than Dan Quayle at a Master P show. The performers also tend to be predominately white, but with a significant minority of Asians; blacks and hispanics are almost never seen onstage at one of these things. And, of course, lets not forget the utterly stereotypical gender distribution over instruments embodied by the NRO: Every double bass, tuba, trombone and percussion instrument was played by a male, along with all but one of the trumpets; on the other hand, every single flute, french horn and harp was played by a female, along with over 70% of the violins, violas and cellos. I mean, much as one might like to, it's hard to denigrate a stereotype when it's so bloody accurate.

Finally, is there any outfit less flattering to the female form than the orchestral uniform? The guys can look pretty snazzy in their tuxedos, but tux shirts and too-high, too-tight black pants make the women look like misshapen hermaphrodites. It's not like I'm going to a concert looking for eye candy, but could we at least acknowledge that the concertmaster has breasts and hips? Is that too much to ask?