Listen Up! A - Z of the Orchestra
Dermot Clinch has written an A to Y of the Orchestra. Every evening, during the Listen Up! concert a new letter will be revealed. You can listen to the entries here soon after the concert
However the letter Z is missing. Send us your suggestion for Z and you'll be in the running to win a set of CDs recorded by the BBC orchestras or a digital radio
Y is for Yamaha'The symphony orchestra, gently declining in the West since its great days of the late nineteenth and early 20th centuries, in Asia suddenly becomes big business.'
X is for Xenakis'Iannis Xenakis, the composer who lays bare in his music the plight of the individual orchestral player. Nothing in himself or herself that person is everything when combined with the others.'
W is for Waltz'He himself dances, body and soul, while he plays - not with his feet but with his violin, which keeps bobbing up and down while the whole man marks the accent of every bar.'
V is for Vingt Quatre Violons du Roi'The Vingt Quatre Violons were the Berlin Phil of their day, in the sense that their prestige was so great that everyone wanted to emulate them...'
U is for unplayablethe performer...is 'totally unnecessary - except as his interpretations make the music understandable to an audience unfortunate enough not to be able to read it in print.'
T is for tuning up'no one much regard what another doth; and in all that disorder the sound will be rich and amazing.'
R is for Rite'The conductor was Pierre Monteux who stood, Stravinsky remembered, 'impervious' during the riot that accompanied the premiere, though he looked, it is true, 'as nervous as a crocodile.'
Q is for Quantz'In any orchestral alphabet, however heterogeneous or random, it's a rule that one should always include the son of a village blacksmith from Oberscheden in Lower Saxony.
P is for Pompeii'To certain types of musical mind the ancient world has always been a magical stimulus to the imagination, and nowhere more so than with the orchestra, its very name, as we know, deriving from the theatres of Ancient Greece.'
O is for Orchestration"'What is good orchestration', Stravinsky was once asked. He answered it was the kind you didn't notice."
N is for Nightingale"When it comes to the richest and most beguiling of birdsongs - the Nightingale - composers generally feel they are released from any obligation to imitate the natural world."
M is for Maestro"In an age of despots Jean-Baptiste Lully was exemplary in his despotism. 'More than once' he broke a violin across a player's back for some infringement 'and then took the player out to dinner where the wine 'dispelled the ill feelings'."
L is for Lollipop"For many years past my audience … has had the disconcerting habit of remaining in its seats and declining to depart until, emulating Oliver Twist, it has obtained an extra helping."
K is for Kazoo"30,000 players buzzing together in the main square of Cincinnati, Ohio, they can't all be wrong"
J is for Jullien "He conducted Beethoven with a jewelled baton handed to him on a silver salver"
I is for Instrument "A new kind of social organisation, a large number of people doing the same thing at the same time in precisely the same way."
H"The redemption of music into the realm of universal art, the human evangel of the art of the future, no forward step is possible beyond it."
G is for Gramophone"Singers sometimes had to put their heads inside the horn, leading accompanists to complain that they were playing for a pair of buttocks."
F is for the Future"Even in one of the great orchestras you'll find incompetent conductors, bad halls, too little money, too much stress."
E is for Etymology"There's a picture by Thomas Rowlandson of the orchestra at Vauxhall, glittering on several tiers like a wedding cake, with an organ inside, and a female singer leaning provocatively over the edge."
D is for Dress"Uniform renders the wearer invisible...It was with good reason that orchestral musicians appeared 'in the simplest clothes'...in fact 'it would be best if they were not visible at all.'"
C is for Conservatoire"They are sad places. They are, in fact, orphanages. The question in the Italian city of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was: how to offer the illegitimate child or the orphan some chance of a future life, a career?"
B is for Baton"I draw my baton from my pocket. I give the signal to begin. Quite shocked at this innovation some of the directors of the Society want to protest. But it is discipline at last!"
A is for Applause"It's pretty clear on the whole. The reason the orchestra sits up there in the penitential dark making interesting noises is because they need our love, they want our applause."
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