19 February 2005

A brief musical interlude

Two things prompted this post.

First is the entry on Paul Wells' blog on the issue of applause between movements of a concerto or symphony. Contentious issue this, especially here where you you will sometimes find people applauding vigorously whenever the music stops (even after a long pause) and other times when the audience seems lukewarm in its response.

I still recall the rather odd experience of having an entire church congregation spring to its feet during a performance of the Hallelujah chorus from The Messiah. If memory serves this tradition dates from the inaugural performance when the King, (George III ??) stood during that piece simply because he needed to stretch his legs. Somehow the idea worked its way far and wide including to that performance in - as I recall - Twillingate.

This is a musical place and by and large audiences are extremely enthusiastic and extremely supportive. What else could a composer or musician seek?

The second motive for this post is that tomorrow marks the start of the Kiwanis Music Festival in St. John's. Your faithful blog-scribe will be performing on the evening of 26 February at 8:20 pm along with the other members of the Gower Community Band. That's all I'll say about that.

As a bonus for having suffered through this post to arrive at this point, I am including a link to a collection of musician jokes. Some of these would be funny even to non-musicians. Others might be a bit more obtuse unless one has experienced it.

For example, non-percussionists will instantly enjoy this one, and with good reason:

Q: How do you know there's a drummer at your door?
A: The knocking slows down. (Variation: The knocking speeds up.)

However, those who have never worked with a drummer may have some difficulty getting the full flavour of it.

Since I play the euphonium, I always liked this one:

Q: How do you make a euphonium sound like a french horn?
A: Put your hand in the bell and miss a lot of notes.

Or another favourite:

Q: What's an oboe?
A: Kindling for a bassoon.

Just for the curious, here's a link to one of the leading professional euphonium players in the world, a chap named Steven Mead from the United Kingdom. Those who know me claim there is a resemblance between me and this fellow, but only in the facial features, I can assure you. Those who know me would never suggest for a moment I play like Mead.

Check his recordings (discography) page and you'll get some mp3 links like this one - a well-known television theme in which Mead plays all the parts - or this one, although I doubt it would be considered for a remake of Apocalypse Now. Ditto on all the parts.

Gotta love multi-track recording.

Now we return you to our regularly scheduled programming