Thursday, August 03, 2006


And another concert

Today's luncheon concert was actually a coffeehouse concert, put on by the Amanita Trio - Emily Grossman on violin, Maria Allison on viola, and Sarah Glaves on flute.

[Interesting name! The amanita muscaria is a highly toxic mushroom - remember the mushroom that the hookah-smoking caterpillar lols on in Alice in Wonderland? Some varieties of amanitas contain the psychoactive chemicals ibotenic acid and muscimol. They are best known for their distinctive appearance - bright red with white spots. Many years ago I ran across a group of amanitas in the woods - I brought one home and left it outside on the deck, only to watch a squirrel steal it, piece by piece!]

Their music was classical, which should have fit with the coffeehouse setting, but... too often the chatter (and the occasional frothing) overpowered their sound. I sat near the front and still had to cup my ear to try to tune out the loud conversation at the table behind me.


Isn't it funny, the contrast in volume between a classical chamber group and a rock band? The latter is always way too loud, so it's pretty much useless to even try to talk. It would be interesting for a chamber group to amplify themselves the same way, maybe even play some Shostakovich at a club or something!
Actually, at a lunch concert, the musicians ARE background music. I've played for lots of dinner and lunch gigs, and the noise level has never bothered me. If it is so loud that the musicians can't hear themselves or each other, things get difficult. It's fun when people really listen, but if it was supposed to be completely silent, the venue wouldn't be a coffee shop, it would be a recital hall. By the way, have a good cello lesson today!
You are right of course that a lunch/coffeehouse gig should be considered background music, and I'm (reluctantly) OK with that. But some people go so far overboard beyond good taste and respect for their neighbors. In this one instance, at least, their volume would have been obnoxious even if there were no music. And unfortunately, if the players used amps, etc., it would only encourage people to yell even louder.

Nevertheless, if you are going out for lunch or coffee to a place that has live entertainment, then allow it to entertain you (and allow the other diners to be entertained as well), or go somewhere else. It's fine to converse with your tablemates, but try to be fair to the rest of the room...

Sigh, again. I guess that makes me a curmudgeon...
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