My memory isn't good enough to play this game, but our conductor is a sweet, witty old man. I have a Zoom H1n. I don't know if I want to record whole rehearsals.
We are playing Puccini's Chrysanthemums, Sibelius' Andante Festivo and Vaughan Williams' Charterhouse Suite. He regularly jokes that VW deliberately wrote the suite for the school orchestra to make their lives hell.
In the case of Puccini, he's "suspicious of him: he boasted that in the morning he wrote music to make the women cry. ...Then in the afternoon he went out and shot rabbits". He, like others, prefers Verdi, and I've been told I have no taste, for preferring Donizetti to Verdi, but my teacher sides with me.
November 2019, semi-pro orchestra
Qing Yang, Alice
Brahms, German Requiem
"Sorry, I was distracted for a moment thinking, is this 'My Heart Will Go On'? It was very Titanic."
"If this happens at the concert, I will roll my eyes and shake my head in disappointment..." (sotto voce) "...that the chorus can't belt it out..."
"Super hardcore sul tasto here. Not everyone has to make a functional sound. We'll just drop a silky veil over our entire lives."
"You have done more in terms of experimenting with this sound than most professional orchestras in the world. They would be like, 'What's next, will you want us to use gut strings?'"
"Think of the world's biggest rock skipping on the lake."
(orchestra rushes the end of a movement)
"Why are you so adamant about finishing early? I know you all want to go home..."
"I ate one measure. Sorry. I might not do it again, but I might do it again."
"The person in front of you needs to get wet. It needs to be more joyful!" (this was directed at the chorus)
"You're still dry! If I don't see saliva, you're not pronouncing the 't' enough."
"Selig..." (noise from conductor's music stand) "Siri, stop it! My phone goes crazy when I speak German."
"If you think about the Salvador Dalí painting with the melting clocks, that's the effect we're looking for."
I'm subbing in a community orchestra playing a Messiah sing-along this week. It's on just one rehearsal, so I can already post quotes -- there will be no more rehearsals.
"This year we are not doing number 19, 'His Yoke Is Easy,' because it's not."
"Lean on the upper note and make them suffer. Enjoy the suffering! And wear a white powdered wig while you're doing it."
"Be fat. Cholesterol!"
(to soprano soloist)
"He [bass soloist] has to go back to San Jose tonight, so there's a change of rehearsal order. You have plenty of time... enough to get a pizza. Pizza's good for the voice, isn't it?"
Conductor (gesturing at empty seat): I assume Suzanna will be here?
Violinist: No, she won't. She's in Maine.
Conductor: She can commute.
We just had our last rehearsal for a concert, so here's the usual quote dump from the entire rehearsal cycle. Program is: the Clara Schumann Piano Concerto, and Bruckner's 7th Symphony.
"This piece is hard and Bruckner was crazy."
(fiddling with score on iPad) "Everybody just ponder the universe for fifteen more seconds."
"You don't need to spread all the butter just yet, it's like another twenty minutes to go."
"When you watch these older orchestras on YouTube, they are all about the jowls."
"Let's all take our amphetamines. Is that the one that speeds you up, in the art world? I'm sorry, just say no!"
"Can you play in such a way that everyone's music lights on fire sporadically?"
"If you refuse to let go, sometimes it means you're a horrible person and impossible to work with. Not just in music, in life. But when we're playing this, when you are all totally committed to holding on to the quarter note, you will all end together out of sheer exhaustion." (mimes heart attack)
"Like one of those drawings by Escher. You think you're going upward and upward and all of a sudden you're going in a completely different direction. That's what it should sound like."
"Violas, this needs to sound more... tuba."
Horn player: Where?
Conductor: One before X.
Horn player: Again?
Conductor: Yes, why not? It's a nice moment. It's fun.
(to brass) "I'm sorry, in addition to asking you to disregard your lungs' needs, I'm also going to ask you to care about intonation at the end."
(to first violins) "If you listen to the seconds here, you may notice they have the melody. And they are enjoying it very much."
One I missed from the dress rehearsal:
(after giving brass players permission to sing rather than play their parts in dress rehearsal, to save their chops for the concert)
"Brass, your voices sound a lot like brass instruments. I would find nothing wrong with some choral Bruckner."
And one from the short rehearsal for the Family Concert we had the next day:
Trumpeter: Our parts have wrong notes and rests in the wrong places.
Conductor: We'll get through it. We'll sound like Xenakis.
Since I'm back to in-person orchestras, some more conductor/rehearsal quotes. From the last rehearsal cycle:
"They've paid for tickets, we might as well give them a longer final chord."
(to timpanist) "Start it [the crescendo] early. Don't make them think you're watching Netflix while you're rolling."
"It could be weird. I live for weird."
"Great! What a nice, disturbing start."
"I'm now hearing a bit of buoyancy. Like a kind of big floaty belly or something."
"Whoom! And all the lacy cravats are up in the air."
"You need to prepare yourself spiritually for this part. It's like you're trying to sing loudly and... you sing the wrong song in the shower and you get wet. Be prepared for this moment, don't get wet!"
"It should sound awkward and uncomfortable. So please be more presently uncomfortable."
Conductor: Please just jump up on stage, you're an athletic capoeira artist!
Composer (walking onto stage): I don't want to literally break a leg.
Gordon Shumway said
One of our first violinists said to the conductor the other day "You can either have the rhythm or you can have good intonation." I think that's a good application of Schrödinger.
Isn't Schrödinger an application of Heisenberg? I'm a little uncertain.
My contribution -
"Play everything louder than everything else."
"It is vain to do with more that which can be done with less" - William of Ockham
"A crown is merely a hat that lets the rain in" - Frederick the Great
Bob in Lone Oak, Texas