I’m probably the last blogger to talk about Tan Dun’s Youtube Symphony. Tan Dun wrote it, the score Michael Tilson-Thomas will be conducting it once auditions are over: you download the music, you learn your part, you send in an audition video with you playing your part and another piece, and whoever is chosen gets a trip to NY and a performance. Quite the event. Matthew Guerreri at Soho the Dog blogs about it here; Lisa Hirsch at The Iron Tongue of Midnight discusses it here.
Of course, there is no music for piano, though piano is one of the instruments listed. Fine. I don’t mind. I’ll just sit here in the dark. Actually, it would be pretty amusing for all the participants to be bloggers…actually, probably pathetic, like the flock of commentators trying to come up with interesting new angles on the election, or Obama’s cabinet picks. Imagine what a bunch of bloggers would do, out of sheer desperation: “As I’ve written many times, scoring for double-reeds has never been Tan Dun’s strong suit. Never has this been more true than with the English Horn obligato about five minutes in…”
What I can’t figure out is, simply, the point. Is this about trying to Interest The Youtube Generation In Classical Music? Silliness. Classical music fanatics crawl all over youtube, commenting on each other’s posted rare videos, and musicians E-Mail video auditions all the time. The piece, which can be heard on the website, sounds like something…bland, that sure enough quotes Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony. Is it about New Music? Can’t be; too bland. The piece seems almost to be a here’s-what-an-orchestra-sounds-like demo. Does opening an orchestra to WWW participation somehow make it more relevant, or hip, or interesting?
I’ve heard interesting Tan Dun, but I wouldn’t number this piece among those works. Yes, this moves an orchestra two steps closer to a garage band, but there are amateur and professional orchestras all over to participate in. So what’s the point?
A Happening. There is a certain amount of hoo-hah associated with this, the first ever something or other—and I can’t get over the feeling of a Let’s-Make-the-Guinness-Book project (we recently had one here). It does not seem like there’s a point, otherwise. Or is it that I Just Don’t Get It? I suppose this may be a much bigger deal than it appears to me.