Saturday, November 12, 2005

Koussevitsky, RAM and Perlman

Here's a first. I'm posting this from a public wifi hot spot in Augusta, GA. Very 21st century.
I'm in town doing a concert with the Augusta Symphony. One piece on the program: the Koussevitsky Double Bass Concerto.

Now apparently, the only copies of this concerto are bad manuscript. So our soloist has prepared a Finale edition of score and parts. One problem: mistakes.

For example, trombone parts without any rehearsal letters. (and of course no cues!). So there we are trying to count 66 measures and then come in on one chord.

Mildly annoying.

Wait, I'm going somewhere with this. At one point, a woodwind principal asks the conductor if he's conducting in 2 or in 4. He expresses mild irritation because it should be obvious. He's right, BUT, that poor musician is already dealing with a mistake-ridden part. I get the impression that dealing with the bad part is occupying so much attention that less is left for other issues.

Come to think of it, uncertainty doesn't exactly help tone quality.

I also bought a laser printer today. I'm looking over the memory specs and decide to pass on the 2 mb model and pay more for the 8 mb model. I'm figuring, more memory, better hendling of print jobs.

Wait, our attention is like that RAM on the printer. Although flexible, we have some kind of limit. If we use up RAM on bad parts, we have less left for other issues.

Years ago, 60 minutes interviewed Itzhak Perlman. He said he practiced scales while watching sports on TV. At the time I was stunned, shocked, horrified (well not really).

But think about it, if the scales is automatic, that frees up memory to focus on phrasing, balance, and other higher level stuff.

I'm not leading up to some grand moral of the story. Draw your own conclusions.

(I hope you liked the hand-dandy color coding. free of charge.)