Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Another luncheon concert

Today I listened to the Kalgin Island Quartet play for an hour during lunch at "The Crossing Restaurant" in Soldotna. Maria Allison at the piano, Tammy Vollom-Matturro on the clarinet, Susie Lee on the viola and Ida Pearson (I think?) on the violin. They were great! I liked their repertoire, I enjoyed how they interacted, and I really liked how they sounded - I especially liked those times when the clarinet and the viola came together in the lower ranges. I commented in an earlier post about the sound of the clarinet with the cello, when Tammy (and Maria) played with Andrew Cook at a recital here in April.

Fewer than 30 people attended (less than half of the restaurant was occupied), and unfortunately many of them felt that they had to talk louder to be heard over the music. Aargh! I almost leaned over to the table next to me to tell them to shut the hell up! I heard the first person in that group who arrived tell the waitress that they wanted to sit near the music. You'd think this meant they had come (like many of us) to hear the music, right? Not a chance. As each one arrived and sat down, they went through an obscenely loud commotion of greetings and menu discussions, and then proceeded to bleat about their jobs, families, neighbors, etc. for the next hour! Why then did they ask to sit by the "stage"? They could have sat anywhere else and would have been less disruptive. I couldn't believe their rudeness, not only to we listeners, but to the musicians as well.

It is sad that in this community of more than 15,000 people, less than 20 turned out for a free hour-long feast of sound presented by some of the best musicians in the state. Yesterday it was the same thing. I'll be surprised if more than 75 poeple turn out Friday night for the Devere Quartet's performance. Where has music appreciation gone? The Kalgin Island Quartet hardly played much "classical" music. They included lots of Joplin and the Beatles in their playlist today.

I guess live music is no longer considered a treat in our culture (unless it is one of those extremely high-priced performances by one of the "hot" or "once-hot" rock bands on a tour). National packaged radio has almost killed off our appreciation of good music - and they now only play what sells. Since most of us don't buy a lot of music anymore (no wonder, considering the cost and the garbage that is packaged and sold as "popular" music), in the end, the people who are dictating what we hear on the radio are the few teenaged kids discovering music for the first time in their lives and are able to spend their allowances on what they've been "told" - by the same radio stations - are the latest hot groups.

Recently a local radio station popped up that plays an eclectic mix of classical, pop, rock, country, international, etc.; KWVK (89.9 FM); which often impresses me (Laurie Anderson! even EmmyLou Harris!) and sometimes challenges me (lots of harpsichord - blech - at least it's usually Bach). I hope it lasts....

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