All EOS blogs All Spain blogs  Start your own blog Start your own blog 


On Thursday each week my column appears in the Euro Weekly News. My opinion is just that, an opinion. Feel free to put your oar in but in a constructive way if you please. Thanks so much. - Michael

What a Way to Conduct Themselves
09 October 2011 @ 14:08

It is difficult to imagine how orchestral music and opera earned a reputation for being elitist and stuffy. Those who made quality music their calling added much to our lives but their behaviour was often less than inspirational. At least they have a sense of humour and their wit is often aimed at colleagues. The percussion sections of an orchestra are often referred to as the kitchen department and by the more profane known as the bang gang.
Musicians can be scathing of their colleagues: One was asked what he would have been had he not chosen music as a career. ‘A drummer’ he replied.  Culture can change perceptions too.  Before any concert the players tune their instruments.  It is difficult to imagine a more jarring sound; it is audio-anarchy.  An Asian statesman was asked which part of the program he liked best. ‘The beginning,’ he replied: ‘Just before the man with the stick came in.’
Music doesn’t necessarily bring people together.  Sir Thomas Beecham was one of England’s great conductors.  On finishing his Australian tour he was asked by a reporter when he would be returning.  He replied:  ‘Does anyone ever return to Australia?’
A quote attributed to Beecham was made to an unfortunate cellist during a rehearsal: ‘Madam, you have between your legs an instrument capable of giving pleasure to thousands and all you can do is scratch it.’
Great divas are under no illusions as to their value.  When the great soprano, Maria Callas named her fee for appearing at the Metropolitan Theatre in New York, she was curtly told that even the President of the United States doesn’t get that much. Callas replied: ‘Then let him sing for you.’ Born in the U.S. of Greek parents, living in Italy and fluent in the French and English languages the gorgeous opera singer was asked what language she thought in.  She replied, ‘I count in English.’
Johannes Brahms was a petulant wit. A young composer asked if he might play a funeral march in memory of Beethoven. When he had finished the master turned to him: ‘I would be much happier if you were dead and Beethoven had written the march.’
After finishing her set piece Anton Rubenstein was asked by a pupil what she should do now: ‘Get married,’ he replied. Pity the hapless violinist who asked George Bernard Shaw what he should play next: ‘Dominoes,’ was the playwright’s retort. 
Mark Hambourg, the noted pianist, was not amused to see a man reading his newspaper during a piano recital. Aware of the maestro’s penetrating glare the man looked up from his newspaper and said: ‘Do go on playing; you do not disturb me in the least.’
Those who think Eastenders and other soaps are going too far with their storylines may be interested to know what George Bizet wrote:  ‘As a musician I tell you that if they were to suppress adultery, fanaticism, crime, evil, the supernatural, there would no longer be the means of writing one (opera) note.’

Like 0


Patricia said:
09 October 2011 @ 14:44

Just to say, Mike, that I am enjoying very much your articles about music and musicians.
Thank you
Patricia (Campana)

Mike said:
09 October 2011 @ 16:54

Thanks Patricia. I hope to provide a bridge from music lovers to music (and dance) makers. Return the people's music to the people.

Patricia said:
09 October 2011 @ 19:44

Mike: Remembering something you said in another post......

There is an association in Marbella called "Amigos de la Música" and it's been on the go a long time. They organise concerts and events from time to time. I know you would like to locate music-lovers in your area so perhaps it would be a start. Concerts also used to take place from time to time in the Iglesia de la Encarnación de Marbella.

Just a thought

mike said:
10 October 2011 @ 12:00

Hi Patricia... thanks for that; we are in harmony :o) I will do a search on them; it'll be sure to make my little odyssey easier. Much appreciated.

Patricia said:
13 October 2011 @ 16:53

Here is another one for you Mike.

The Málaga Academy of Music
Conservatorio Superior de Música de Málaga. Founded in 1880.

Plaza Maestro Artola, 2, Málaga - 951 298 340

They offer concerts throughout the year

Located in the building that formerly housed the Conservatorio.

Hope these are useful.


mike said:
15 October 2011 @ 11:39

Thaks for these additions, Patricia; really useful. I use Face Book a lot and connected to the one you suggested. Thanks again.... non enthusiasts are missing a lot

Only registered users can comment on this blog post. Please Sign In or Register now.


This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse you are agreeing to our use of cookies. More information here. x