A humorous little post from the blog of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra - a pseudo-introduction of the coming season - has confused a number of otherwise worldly and alert adults into thinking the cracks therein are to be taken seriously. Here are some rather obvious samples of Slatkin's playfulness:
"To begin, the orchestra will be seated with their backs to the audience. Music Director Leonard Slatkin said at a press conference yesterday, 'I feel that the listeners are distracted by seeing the faces of the musicians. By turning around, people will tire of looking at backsides and focus purely on the music.'"
On Beethoven's 5th Symphony:
"So for these performances of the overly familiar Beethoven score, the opening five bars will not be played, since everyone knows how they go. It will be straight into the 6th measure. In fact, every time the four-note motto comes in and is played loudly, the passage will either disappear or be performed softly."
Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring:
"Other emendations include orchestration changes. The opening of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, played by the bassoon in a high register, will now be intoned on the tuba, two octaves lower than printed."
On formal attire:
"Finally, in keeping with the new seating arrangement, the orchestra will perform in street clothes, but the audience is requested to come in formal attire.
'Let them learn how long it takes to put on white tie and tails.'"
"Season tickets, subscription renewals and cancellations can be taken care of directly with the DSO box office."
If the Schikele-esque notions above were not adequate proof of mirth, the post even goes so far as to include the winking emoticon, ;-), in the headline, but still there were those who remained unsure if they were witnessing a joke or not. That tells this reader that the classical community in general could use a bit more of this sort of thing ...
DSO blog post, with comments
Leonard Slatkin's web site
Mind the Gap blog on Artsjournal.com
Daily Observations blog, with comment