Saturday, January 26, 2013

Anyone Can Play a Viola

I listened to a broadcast of the Minnesota Orchestra last night. The orchestra musicians are still locked out by management, so this was a broadcast from two years ago: Beethoven's violin concerto and Sibelius's last two symphonies. Very nice. I can't understand why management wants to wreck the orchestra. The conductor has warned that musicians will find other jobs, and all the work done to create an orchestra that plays very well together will be lost. I think management believes that the musicians aren't important. Why does an orchestra need musicians, especially ones who are good and well paid? Surely what's important is management and the conductor. You can always find people to fill the orchestra seats.

In case anyone is wondering, I am using sarcasm or maybe irony in the above statement.

The guy who blogs as Hindrocket at the right wing blog Powerline expressed amazement when the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis collapsed a few years ago. How could a bridge spontaneously fall down? he asked. He apparently did not understand that bridges are built and maintained by people. They do not spontaneously arise or spontaneously fall down. They are the result of human labor. If bridges are not adequately maintained by labor, they deteriorate and then -- maybe -- they collapse.

In the same way, orchestras are built and maintained by all those people you watch file onto the stage with instruments. It is not simply the conductor. In fact, there are orchestras that play perfectly well -- even splendidly -- with no conductor. You can actually do without the guy with the baton. You cannot do without the guys with the instruments or the guys who pour concrete.


Blogger delagar said...

It's like that old story, about the farmer who kept feeding his horse a little less hay every day, to see how little the horse could live on and still do a day's work.

Apparently the owners and bosses in this country want workers who can work on no hay at all.

11:31 AM  

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