Sunday, April 02, 2006

Advice to Critics of Concert

To all people who wish to criticise a band performance (and wish to be taken seriously):

1. Please get the type of the group performing. The NUS Wind Symphony did not "market itself" as a "winds orchestra", and it certainly did not pretend "to be serious", even though the posters were rather professionally made.

2. Please get the name of the group performing correctly. The NUS Wind Symphony's name is isn't a Wind Orchestra.

3. Please know the repertoire before you even step into the auditorium. If you're not sure, the advertising posters have contacts whom you can call and ask for more details. Don't feel cheated by alleged false marketing (if there indeed was any) if you didn't know what the band was going to perform in the first place. Concerts aren't like Kinder Surprise, except for maybe the encore pieces. No band will ever advertise its concert without giving a run-down of at least a few of its pieces it is going to play for the concert.

What on earth possessed you to think that the all wind orchestras (and indeed, all orchestras of any nature) play only classical music during their concerts anyway? Are you sure you've been in touch with classical music anyway?

4. Please get the order of the repertoire correct. You have the programme list by your side. What piece comes after what piece would be clearly listed in the programme booklet. The piece after the trombone concerto was not the "ridiculous 'big-band' sounding amateurish piece", but the piece based on a Biblical story (and an encore piece by the SSO guest trombonist before that if you really want to get to specifics). Not getting even the repertoire correct makes you sound as if you are out to make your blog a flame bait for people from the band.

5. Please do your research on whichever instrumentalist you criticize. If you want to criticize a "joker" for allegedly spoiling a solo segment, you don't straightaway assume that he is a "histrionic" student "from NUS" when people in the know can tell you that he isn't even an NUS undergraduate.

6. Please do keep your aural skills on high alert. An oboe solo is an oboe solo; you should not make a boo-boo like calling an oboe solo a "cor anglais" solo when you had just stated your admiration for the music of Brahms, Mozart and Tchaikovsky, and were lambasting band music as "brainless". You make yourself sound foolish, no matter how many valid points you make on how the band sounded...and you did make some sound remarks.


All quotes in above blog entry culled from Weiqin's blog entry entitled "Bad Music"


RongC said...

Nice work in deconstructing Weiqin's entry.

Hope he is able to do a better critique next time - better as in more prepared and factual.

Let's move onward towards a better AY ahead. Maju-lah...

ianlum said...

steady lah!!!!!

Nick said...

hahahahah I like the Kinder's Surprise part.. hahaha

A little bird atop the canopy said...

I agree that "the customer is always right", and everyone's fully entitled to rip our band performance apart if we really sucked (the truth is we were really far from what we should be capable of doing).

It's right to criticize a band concert. It's right to express horror at the playing of the band. It's right to boo the band off for a bad performance. It's ok to rip your ticket stub apart and throw it into the face of a performer.

But what makes me so angry reading that "Weiqin" blog entry is that he made personal attacks on the performers ("histrionic students from NUS"!) or the band itself ("marketed itself as a winds orchestra", "a concert band trying to be serious"!) for things it did not even do. Simple as that.