Follow Voicebox on Twitter Follow Voicebox on Facebook
Follow Voicebox on Facebook

Learning from the Russians

March 23, 2010

val.jpegEveryone knows the Russians can teach the U.S. a thing or two about playing the music of Rachmaninoff, Borodin, Mussorgsky, Shostakovitch and co. That's why audiences in this country flock in droves to hear groups like the Mariinsky Orchestra led by Valery Gergiev (pictured). At Davies Symphony Hall last night, the orchestra, conductor and soloist Denis Matsuev blew the lid off Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 15 in A Major. The music raged with tears and laughter and sweat and sweetness. Matsuev's fingers flickered like flames on the keyboard. The music grabbed me by the lapels and threw me to the floor. It constantly amazes me how someone who looks as disheveled as Gergiev, who conducts without a podium and with twitching fingers like he has a nervous disorder in his hands, can eke such precision and authority from a symphony.

What's perhaps less obvious is how the Mariinsky orchestra can also teach us a thing or two about presentation. One thing that impressed me at last night's concert was how terrific all the players looked. I'm talking specifically about the female instrumentalists, as the men in most orchestras in the U.S. tend to wear penguin suits. In this country, though, women frequently schlep around on stage in ill-fitting black slacks and button down shirts with their hair all unkempt. They very rarely look as dapper as the men in the orchestra. But the Mariinsky's women dressed like soloists in beautiful black gowns. For once it was nice to see an orchestra where both sexes looked equally well groomed. I also appreciated the way in which the players all filed in together at the start of the concert. Here in San Francisco, orchestra members usually amble on stage whenever they like before a concert begins. The effect is rather ramshackle and unprofessional-looking.

I'm all for making things less starchy and informal. But there's something about a sense of occasion which many American cities -- and San Francisco in particular -- unfortunately often lacks.


  • Thanks for the post, well pass on to our garden customers to come to your blog.
    Organic green Tea
    lose weight tea

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At March 29, 2010 at 12:33 PM  

  • A humankind who dares to waste one hour of one of these days has not discovered the value of life.



    By Anonymous Anonymous, At May 16, 2010 at 12:00 PM  

  • We should be meticulous and particular in all the information we give. We should be especially painstaking in giving advice that we would not about of following ourselves. Most of all, we ought to refrain from giving counsel which we don't tag along when it damages those who depreciate us at our word.



    By Anonymous Anonymous, At May 25, 2010 at 6:16 AM  

  • To be a upright charitable being is to be enduring a make of openness to the far-out, an skill to trust aleatory things beyond your own pilot, that can lead you to be shattered in unequivocally exceptional circumstances for which you were not to blame. That says something exceedingly impressive with the condition of the honest autobiography: that it is based on a trust in the up in the air and on a willingness to be exposed; it's based on being more like a shop than like a jewel, something kind of dainty, but whose extremely item attraction is inseparable from that fragility.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At June 23, 2010 at 7:14 AM  

  • Exercise ferments the humors, casts them into their proper channels, throws eccentric redundancies, and helps nature in those secretive distributions, without which the association cannot subsist in its vigor, nor the soul role of with cheerfulness.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At July 5, 2010 at 7:26 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home