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gkc
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Hazardous Duty

Yesterday, Tiger Woods withdrew from the Players' Championship, a very prestigious event, because of persistent pain originating in his neck and extending down through his fingertips. Anybody who has seen Tiger go through a golf ball will understand how the violence of the move might cause problems, especially with that remarkably steady head position while shoulders, arms, and legs are unwinding with obvious force. I wasn't there, at Sawgrass, but TV is convincing enough these days, what with super slow motion and such.

In a related story, Gustavo Dudamel had to withdraw from a concert he was conducting that featured the Dvorak Cello Concerto, because of a neck injury sustained during the force required to get the orchestra to communicate all that wonderful piece has to offer. Anybody who has seen Dudamel conduct will understand the violence suffered by the head and neck region, as his baton releases through the dense Los Angeles air, with shoulders winding and unwinding against the torque of his lower body resisting the various swipes, the better for him to be able to remain confined to the conductor's podium. I was there, front and center, to experience personally the violence of his head-waving. No slow motion was necessary.

The question is, who is the greater athlete? I suspect Tiger couldn't conduct worth a damn. I know Dudamel can't.

tomjtx
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Re: Hazardous Duty

You "know" Dudamel can't conduct?

gkc
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Re: Hazardous Duty

Yes. From experience. I have season tickets. His schtick is to jerk and stomp around enough to provide a visual distraction from the actual music being played by the orchestra. Of course, the Hollywood crowd loves the hysteria, so he gets plenty of reinforcement. Perhaps the sprained neck will serve as a restraint, and he can gradually learn the music and the basics of crowd control, the orchestra being the crowd in need of control. As things stand now, they go willy-nilly on their own, at whatever tempo fits the random mood, while "Dude" pole-dances on the podium. The orchestra, as built by Salonen, is good enough to get through the music without a conductor, but they need a steadier hand than Dudamel's to get the tempos and dynamics consistent with the notes on the page.

I won't renew my subscription, but whoever takes my place won't care -- he or she will be close enough to feel the wind generated by Dudamel's gyrations.

Elk
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Re: Hazardous Duty

Fortunately associate conductor Lionel Bringuier was available to step in for the second half of the concert.

Dudamel is very young to be experiencing conducting injuries.

tomjtx
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Re: Hazardous Duty

Well Clifton, You explain quite well why you don't like Dudamel's conducting
:-)

I hope you reconsider not renewing your tickets. Seems a shame to lose such good seats.
Conductors come and go. Are there enough guest conductors to warrant keeping your season tickets ?

smejias
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Re: Hazardous Duty

I found this piece on Dudamel in yesterday's LA Times blog:
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2010/05/gustavo-dudamel-short-and-chunky.html

Kinda funny.


Quote:
Conductor Gustavo Dudamel is often called boyish, athletic, handsome and energetic. But "short" and "chunky"?

Satch
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Re: Hazardous Duty

Think it over, Clifton. It took a while to get those seats and once they're gone you'll have to start over. After reading your stuff for a long time,I can't believe that you'll let some clown drive you away from such a big part of what you love. Look on the bright side, gold sets new records every month and will probably keep it up. If I can endure the current regime in Washington, you'll find a way outlast one lousy conductor.

gkc
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Re: Hazardous Duty

Thanks, Stephen. This is very funny. I likely wouldn't have seen it if you hadn't posted it.

When was the last time anybody out there (at least, anyone who subscribes to annual concerts at the local symphony hall) heard or read of "athletic" as a complimentary descriptor for the conductor of a symphony orchestra?

Are we now grading them on their moves, a la rappers? "Okay, folks, the music was discombobulated, but the conductor has a 43" vertical leap, and is purported to be able to run the 40 in 4.25308" (I hope you all appreciate the homage to the impossibly 4-figure accuracy at the recent NFL scouting combines...).

I especially liked the "chunky" part. Great. The conductor of my home-team orchestra is "athletic" and built like an Ohio State fullback. Fuck the music.

And he just went on the disabled list because his head, via the neck, couldn't keep up with his torso.

For those of you who think I should thing twice about giving up my primo seat...

I already DID think twice. Maybe even three or ten times. Look. Since I now live equidistant from San Francisco and Los Angeles, and I am free to choose a less "athletic" conductor who can fuse tempo and dynamics, thus setting the music free, what good are dead-center, row 8 seats, if I'm supposed to bring a stop-watch and a tape-measure to the concert?

Thanks, Stephen. For helping to put things into perspective. I guess I'm an old fart with nothing more than sweet memories of the likes of Szell, Ormandy, and Reiner. Who never really got in shape, and didn't seem to care.
How un-hip.

Yet, in my defense, I still play the CD you sent me of your band at least twice a week, and I still love it. Music is music. Let the muscularity of the visual twitching remain appropriate to the genre. I just can't stand to watch the prick stomp the podium to the tick of a metronome that lies only inside his own head.

One, Two, Three, HUT! "...and Dudamel finds a hole between the cello and the first-chair oboe! and he's knocking over horn players, on his way to the percussionists! Damn! What STRENGTH!! He may be chunky, but he's fast...and he's...GONE! GAOOOOOOOLLLL!"

Cheers, all. And enjoy your tunes however you like 'em...

Satch
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Re: Hazardous Duty

" One, Two, Three, HUT! "...and Dudamel finds a hole between the cello and the first-chair oboe! and he's knocking over horn players, on his way to the percussionists! Damn! What STRENGTH!! He may be chunky, but he's fast...and he's...GONE! GAOOOOOOOLLLL!"

OK, you sold me. I'll shut up and mind my own business. Cheers!

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