1. THE SABRES WON! THE SABRES WON! THE SABRES WON!
2. I have to admit I’ve been a little less of a Miss-I-Heart-The-Sabres-Pants and a LOT more of a Miss-Arms-Crossed-With-Disapproval-Pants this season than in past seasons. I don’t feel guilty about this in the slightest, but I DO feel sorry for myself that it didn’t even OCCUR to me to run down to the break room after our concert ended last night to watch OT and the shootout. In my defense, the BPO had a post-concert reception of cupcakes and champagne, so I had delicious treats on the brain. But regardless of the available desserts, it still surprised me when some of my hockey-loving colleagues showed up at the reception a few minutes late and asked, “WHERE WERE YOU?” My answer was, “What are you talking about? I was here, eating cupcakes! Where were YOU?!” It literally did not cross my mind to go downstairs and watch the end of the game. I was blinded by cupcakes, I think.
I’m sorry about that, because I think I really would’ve enjoyed the end of that game. Even the “On the Fly” highlights made my heart trill a little bit. I don’t think I’ll ever stop being surprised by how something as relatively minor as a single shootout victory in November can put a little spring back into my step.
Everything is just better when the Sabres win, you know? Let’s win more!
3. It’s awfully nice to know that even while wallowing in the depths of organizational despair, the Sabres are still capable of sticking it to the Leafs. We’ve still got it, baby! Just punch me in the face if I ever lose the ability to stop and smell the
humiliating Leafs defeat roses after a game like that.
4. This weekend the BPO played two concerts with a guest conductor named Leon Botstein. Botstein is an incredibly interesting person in that he’s a college president (Bard college), and an accomplished conductor (Music Director of the American Symphony Orchestra, and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra), and an all-around smarty-pants famous intellectual (you can see him playing the role of “intellectual” here on the Colbert Report). In addition to his fine conducting, the thing I enjoyed the most about him this week is that he manages to convey both a dazzling intelligence and a grounded friendliness. “Super-mega-smart” and “friendly” are two qualities which are rarely found in one person in my less-than-super-mega-smart opinion.
This afternoon Botstein did something that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a conductor do in a performance. He turned around and addressed the audience between movements of the symphony (Prokofiev 3).
As many of you probably know, many classical pieces are composed in “movements” (meaning a larger work is divided into several smaller pieces). In most cases, symphonic movements are totally separate, stand alone works. At some point during fairly recent musical history (I want to say probably within the last 100 years) it became customary for the audience to hold their applause until all of the movements have been performed.
This custom has led to a weird and uncomfortable bit of classical music snobbery. Not every audience member knows the unwritten “no applause between movements” rule, so they’ll applaud at the end of the first movement, but then they’ll quickly stop as they realize that not everyone is clapping. Somehow, clapping has become “incorrect” at certain times during concerts. It’s goofy. In my opinion (and if I may be so bold as to speak for most professional musicians), applause at the end of a movement is perfectly fine. I HATE that audience members are made to feel stupid for clapping. (Incidentally, in my opinion, the absolute BEST applause is the applause we periodically get when the audience is moved to clap in spite of the “no applause between movements” rule. Every once in a while you get the sense that the audience is just like, “That was sweet. I’m clapping, damn it.” That’s my favorite.)
Anyhooch, today we were playing Prokofiev 3, which is not performed very often, and could certainly be considered harsh (it’s very loud) and less accessible than, say, a Beethoven symphony. After the first movement, there was a smattering of applause. Now, I have no idea if this applause was from people who didn’t know NOT to applaud, or from people who just really liked the first movement and wanted to clap, but Botstein did something that I REALLY liked. First, he looked at the orchestra, raised his eyebrows and smiled. Then, he turned around to the audience and said, “We like that you liked it.”
This was such a simple gesture to the audience, but one that felt very generous and almost impishly conspiratorial. The “no applause between movements” rule is…weird, and musicians DO like it when the audience likes what we play. If I could change one thing about the classical music business it might be to abolish the rigidity of the “no applause between movements” rule, and replace it with a “applaud if and only when you really like what you just heard” rule.
The performance today was an interesting end to a good week at work.
5. Sometimes it really trips me out that I have a job where I literally get a round of applause at the end of my work day. What kind of lucky girl am I?
6. Okay back to the Sabres for a second- How great was it that Enroth and Ennis were the heroes? I approved of Lindy playing Enroth against the Bruins and then I was skeptical when I heard he planned to play him again last night (shows what I know). It really does add a spark when a young guy comes up big in a tough situation. It will be interesting to see how Lindy handles Lalime and Enroth if Miller is still injured this week. The backup goalie situation seems fraught with hidden opportunity and pitfalls.
I don’t undersatnd why Lalime was re-signed if Lindy has no faith in him, but I can’t really blame Lindy for not having much faith in Laime. The whole thing is curious. I guess we’ll see.