Saturday, September 10, 2011

Cause And Effect

[Zarin Mehta, President and Executive Director of the New York Philharmonic] noted that the Berlin Wall fell 30 years after the Philharmonic, led by Leonard Bernstein, played Moscow in 1959.

“Things don’t happen overnight,” he said.


No, they do not.

And the Berlin Wall was not ERECTED until 1961.

Conclusion: massive nexus failure.


Mehta, of course, is the same moron that appointed Alan Gilbert to the post of Music Director of the New York Philharmonic.

Under Gilbert, the NYPO has experienced a significant decline in ticket sales and has suffered its largest-ever single-season deficit, both of which might have been foretold the day Gilbert’s disastrous appointment was announced.

Simply put, serious music-lovers are not going to pay to hear Alan Gilbert.

At least anyone who knows anyone can now get free tickets to all Gilbert-led NYPO concerts: the orchestra has been reduced to papering Avery Fisher Hall for Gilbert concerts.

Indeed, for the bulk of Gilbert’s NYPO concerts, more complimentary tickets have been distributed than tickets sold to paying customers.

Yet despite heavy papering, the hall is seldom even half-full for Gilbert concerts.

I wonder whether Mehta has identified the cause of the NYPO’s attendance woes for Gilbert concerts.

Everyone else already knows the answer—after all, NYPO attendance remains robust for concerts featuring guest conductors of quality—but Mehta very well may be preparing to advance some crackpot cause-and-effect theory akin to his absurd if not idiotic pronouncement about the NYPO and the fall of the Berlin Wall.


  1. Mr Mehta would probably qubble over those "insigificant" two years between 1959 and 1961: "The devil is in the details, you knit- picking lawyer! . . . now, just what is a 'nexus,' anyway?"

    I listen to the NYPO radio broadcasts weekly. I must say that Gilbert is at least consistent: He is consistently no better than a technically competent, albeit wholly uninspired, student conductor of the Julliard Orchestra. Very often, I have fallen asleep listening to his concerts.

  2. I am still in a state of disbelief that anyone would be so foolish as to claim that the New York Philharmonic’s 1959 tour of Russia somehow laid the groundwork for the fall of the Berlin Wall thirty years later. That the Berlin Wall did not even exist until two years AFTER the NYPO Russia tour makes the claim even more ridiculous. Mehta is an imbecile.

    Norman Lebrecht said that the NYPO should have hired a metronome to lead the orchestra instead of Alan Gilbert. According to Lebrecht, a metronome is just as capable as Gilbert, and available for a tiny fraction of Gilbert’s fees.

    For once, Lebrecht is correct.

    Do you read Lebrecht? He is unreliable, and a bit of a scoundrel—but he is one of the few writers today unafraid to address the virulent anti-Semitism that grips much of contemporary Europe, most especially Britain.

    Because of his coverage of ugly European anti-Semitism, I now read Lebrecht—and I applaud him, at least on that one issue.

  3. I haven't read Lebrecht in a long time, probably for the same reason I've avoided "Grumpy Abe's" blog. I admire Lebrecht's courage, however, as a lone voice against the growing, anti-Israel consensus in Europe. (I am very, very upset about this serious phenomenon.)

    I wonder if the NYPO could have done better by appointing "another" Gilbert to the post of music director: Gilbert Kaplan.

    Did you read on Arts Journal that two violinists from the Chicago Symphony are actually leaving in order to join . . . the LA Philharmonic? Do these two regard the change as a step up in their careers? Didn't they know that a collegue of theirs had recently left Chicago for LA and then shortly afterward practically begged on his hands and knees to be allowed back to Chicago? The LA Phil, according to that tail-between-the-legs almost-defector said that the LA Phil had no musical tradition whatsoever and that all they were was a group of individuals who just happended to sit in close proximity on a regular basis.

    I'm fearful of the situtation in Chicago in the wake of similar red flags. (Why would Dohnanyi find it even necessary to address technical matters in Chicago? He must have been shocked.) What's going on in the Windy City. Or are my voicings just hot air?

  4. I can find no information about two CSO violinists departing for LA.

    Do you have a link?

  5. OK, I found something, but not on ArtsJournal.

    Nathan Cole, a CSO violinist, won the audition for First Associate Concertmaster of the LA Philharmonic. Moving to LA is a major step up for him—he will more than double his salary. (Cole used to play second violin with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.)

    Cole’s wife, also a violinist with the CSO, and a former violinist with the LA Philharmonic, made the move to LA with her husband, having won an open audition for a violin spot in LA.

    These are normal orchestral moves.

    Did you ever notice that Gustavo Dudamel does not have a neck?

  6. Sorry, I have forgotten where I read the story about the CSO violinists (certainly not ArtsJournal, after all).

    According to the May 2009 issue of The Amphisabaena Whisperer Gustavo Dudamel is an anthrocryptodiramorph, born without clavicles but with fourteen, "folding" cervical vertebrae. Photographers are wont to snap the conductor while he is dipping for a whiff of Eloisa's freshly cut garden posies. No photographer have been successful so far in producing documented proof that Dudamel actually has no head at all. (Some LA Phil musicians claim that Dudamel possesses the unique talent during rehearsals - when he gets excited - of being able to lick the ceiling of Disney Hall.

  7. There is some blogger on the West Coast who blogs about musical life in the Greater Los Angeles area, and he continually refers to Dudamel as “The Dud”.

    My question is: which conductor is greater, Marin Alsop or Dudamel? I may spend the next several days pondering that vital question.

    I think the world has gone completely bonkers, aided in large part by the idiotic, frightening and dangerous American press.

    Did you read what Paul Krugman wrote today? In a civilized country, that man would be taken out and shot.

    If you need a laugh, you should read the most recent post Matthew Guerrieri wrote on SohoTheDog.

    I have restrained myself from commenting, largely because the Guerrieri family, based in Chicago, has an extensive history of mental illness, and it would be uncharitable of me to point out that Matthew is merely continuing a long family tradition.

  8. It's mass insanity across the globe. Absolutely.

    I just read the Krugman piece of . . . . I'd be happy to be on the firing squad if I'm picked.

    I just read the first sentence in SohoTheDog article but was unable to continue reading due to a timely mind crash. Now, I have to spend long hours of soul-searching and rolling in bed meditating over the question of what exactly the meaning of the words "vaguely skeptical" is.

    Do the words mean that the "writer's" skepticism in this context is vaguely NOTICEABLE to the skeptic himself? If so, how? Do they mean that the act of being skeptical in this context is a vague PROCESS of thinking which the audience of said skepticism must suffer in the labored and protracted effort to apprehend within the verbal mud? . . . Do the words mean that his skepticism may not be "real" skepticism at all, but only appear - on the surface of all the mud, perhaps - to be "genuine" skepticism, but, as it turns out, may actually be, in some vague way, "FAKE skepticism"?

    My brain hurts at this hour. I'm going to bed. It's going to be a long day . . . today.

  9. From the Amphisbaena Whisperer

    October issue, 2011:


    Friday, August 19, 2011 –

    Two famously feuding former opera sopranos, German-American Faun Braunsch-Schleppzug and the Italian Isabella Bella, were arrested last night by police after the two slugging divas had almost entirely demolished the interior of the upscale "The Unknown Prince Cafe" on E. Lincoln Avenue in New York City. The damage is estimated by proprietors to be over $200,000.

    Bartender Jose Halflowerenis witnessed the tensely escalating verbal altercation which lead up to the fists-full denouement, exploding a good hour after the two women had sat down together, contemptuously barbing with one another from the start, neither woman having seen the other face-to-face during the past eleven years.

    The last time they had met was in 2000, when the two were appearing on stage at Covent Garden, a day of infamy in the career of Braunsch-Schleppzug, whose spectacular nose-dive down the Grand Imperial Staircase after her costume train snagged mysteriously under a suspiciously mal-positioned pair of occidental high heels, made headlines worldwide. Bella, who sang the role of Liu that coccyx-smashing evening told TAW in 2007 that ever since that last incomplete
    Turandot, “[Braunsch-Schleppzug] hasn’t been able to sing a single note above ‘A’ that wasn’t denuded of pitch” – the comment most fans (of other divas) believe today was a “declaration of war” between the two fading stars, both of whom by that time had already ceased singing publically.

    “Publically,” that is, only in the traditional sense, especially with regard to the hapless Isabella Bella. In 2005, after one harsh Reykjovik theater critic noticed her “childlessness” and her “incipient mustache” (but nothing else), Bella left the stage to perform across the US, touring hundreds of junior high schools. This is the era when Bella began a new avocation of sorts, the sport of “flag pole sitting,” which she often demonstrated while entertaining the children. Bella would fearlessly climb to the top of the school pole and squat down her posterior at the summit before belting out the National Anthem, followed by arias from Verdi and Donizetti – all to the rapturous applause of pimply juveniles from coast to coast.

    Not surprisingly, Bella’s “pole-bird shows” had provoked many derisive verbal attacks in newspapers over next few years by the equally washed-up Braunsch-Schleppzug. She has indefatigably railed about Bella’s supposed fear of flying in light of her bird-pole stunts.



    But Braunsch-Schleppzug’s assaults took on frightening monstrous heat after March this year, when Bella proudly announced that she had become “irresistibly pregnant” with quadruplets after “[A]n all-day and all-night orgy with [sometime] ‘music critic’ Matthew Guerrieri, in Boston on February 18, 2011.”

    While not denying the maternity claim, Braunsch-Schleppzug fired back a week later, saying that Guerrieri was “incapable of siring a trace of thoughtfulness in a quartet of SENTENCES, much less than a quartet of illegitimate vegetable heads.”

    Apparently the steel gauntlets came out at last after Braunsch-Schleppzug intensified her aforementioned insult last evening – not against Bella, ironically enough, but against Matthew Guerrieri, her purported one-day-and-night stand. According to bartender Halflowerenis, testifying from his hospital bed, the tornado melee in The Unknown Prince’s Café was traceable all the way back to “that declaration of war” by Isabella Bella in 2007:

    “Finally,” he said, “Mrs. Bella declares that she’s knocked-up now for six months to the very day, and then Ms. Schleppzug [sic] says (pausing for a slow sip and a long killing stare), ‘Darling, I’m so sorry for that vegetable remark of mine last spring . . . and I’m so terribly sorry that you had to step on that long, long TRAIN into town today . . . I’m aware of your fear of flying, you know . . . I myself would be positively mortified to come within even a mile of one of those security check points if I knew I had a quartet of cast-iron flag pole trucks stuck up MY derriere’ . . . and, Oh, my . . . What music came next!”

    "Monuments are supposed to be permanent reminders; music, though, is about remember AND forgetting, permanence AND impermanence, palpability AND insubstantiality."

    -- Matthew Guerrieri

  11. Matthew Guerrieri siring offspring is far too gruesome a subject for contemplation.

    Is either of the divas in question related to the silly woman who is the current head of the DNC? That DNC woman has been spending far too much time sitting on a pole lately.

    She said last night and this morning that the New York Ninth Congressional District was a “difficult” one for the Democratic Party.

    Until yesterday, the Democratic Party had won 44 consecutive House races in the District.

    In her eyes, I guess that makes it a Republican District.

  12. Did you know that former Representative Anthony Weiner’s twitter account remains active?

    It is a veritable gold mine of cant.

    Last night I re-tweeted Weiner’s May 24 message announcing his triumphant return.

  13. Every Democratic leader is just as certifiably insane as Matthew Guerrieri, Krugman, or even an Isabella Bella.

    I'm sure you noticed from the TAW article that Guerrieri has a convenient alibi against Ms. Braunsch-Schleppzug's accusation of an all-day-night orgy on February 18, 2011: He was reviewing (he claimed) the Takacs Quartet concert that you and Josh attended at Jordan Hall in Boston.

    I am skeptical, however - without being "vaguely skeptical" - that the target of Ms. Braunsch-Schleppzug's last insult was Guerrieri and not Ms. Bella. I am skeptical on account of the writer's employment in that context of a vague metaphor: In what way do the four cast-iron flagpole trucks indict the 'critic' more seriously than the four nescient heads of lettus, crystal clear metaphors in their respective context? If Mr. Guerrieri reads the TAW article and confesses that he is "vaguely skeptical" concerning that last insult - without knowing how - then the assertion of the writer of the article is justified.

  14. I didn't know about Weiner's Tweeter account being still active.