Do: Guess The Programs

Tom Morris has a hobby. His hobby is collecting orchestra programs – the good, the bad and the ugly. Here are three of the actual programs he’s collected. In his estimation, one is great, one is terrible, and the third is a joke. See if you can guess which is which. At the end of the week we’ll post Tom’s judgments and the reasoning behind them. Feel strongly about your choices? Discuss below.

Richard Strauss: Ein Heldenleben
Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 “Eroica”

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John Adams: A Guide to Strange Places
Bruckner: Symphony No. 9

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Gershwin: American in Paris
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9

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  1. Mihai Gherman says:

    First of all I have to express my gratitude to all the lecturers and to thank you for the opportunity I have to follow this course.
    I believe that talking about programs, we have to take into account on which side we are. If we discuss from the manager or conductor point of view we should take into account several factors of which the most important are:
    – the period of time for which we do the program schedule (one week, one month, one season or longer) and the goal. What do we want to get at the end? Do we want to increase the audience (normal), to educate it, to promote contemporary composers or something else? I am sure that the first answer would be that we want all of these, but at I think it should be defined a main goal (in my opinion the audience increase). The others, specially if we talk about longer periods, could be subsequent.
    – how well do we know our public? I believe it is not so easy to understand what the people wish to listen, what they accept to listen and what they don’t want to listen (very interesting the question about the three potential programs).
    – how can we support the above two mentioned? Are we able to hire the right number of instrumentalists in order to be able to play what we decided (as one of the lecturer said)? Are we able to create star events? etc.

    Than, it is really a “musical” and marketing art to detail each program (wonderful idea of Mr. Morris with that program which flies from a large orchestra to seven players although I would have started from small to big, but of course it depends on what was considered main event).

    If we discuss from the public point of view, I think it is a matter of expectations and feelings. As it was mentioned, listening live an orchestra is a unique event which is not comparable with listening recordings or so. Listening live a great concert is similar to compose the poem of your life without writing anything and every time to be a different one.

    • I wish I had the ability to say all of that. But this is an excellent way to introduce ideas to people. In terms of the programs above, I was only associated with a few, so finding reasons they would be programmed together is almost ridiculous. That wont stop me from finding out why though.

  2. My votes on this placed me squarely in the largest subset of a self-selected group of programming nerds. This is somewhat comforting.
    Having said that, I am quite sure that the program I(we) liked the best would totally bomb at the box office were my orchestra to perform it. It’s just too daunting and unfamiliar for the potential audience in the city of 1 milliion where I live.
    And the one that offends my tastes, and those of my fellow programming nerds, would certainly sell very well. While the pieces seem to be from wildly different areas of the spectrum of symphonic music, they both shine brightly in the overall spectrum of live entertainment choices available. Win. Win! If we could find a vocal quartet that doubles on saxophone, win, win, win!
    The fascinating New York Philharmonic Performance History Archive shows the 1947 NYP premiere of Mahler 6 had the Gershwin Piano Concerto following intermission, with Oscar Levant as soloist, and Dimitri Mitropoulos conducting.
    They don’t list attendance in the archive.

  3. Anthony L says:

    Yes it is hard to guess which is which. I didn’t hate any of them. I loved Beethoven no. 9 but apparently I am in the minority there. Anyway great first week of class. This is already helping me with my own writing. I have been stuck on a piece I am fond of and I feel like this is going to help get me creating outside the box again. Much thanks.

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