Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

Old jury notes from music competitions

Posted by Susan Tomes on 7 September 2017 under Concerts, Musings, Teaching, Travel  •  3 Comments

Recently I came across folders of notes I had made when serving on international competition juries over the past decade or more. Pages and pages of detailed notes on people’s playing. Most of them played for at least half an hour, sometimes an hour, so there was plenty of time to make notes. I did […]

The cult of the individual

Posted by Susan Tomes on 3 September 2017 under Daily Life, Musings, Teaching  •  10 Comments

Yesterday I had a message from someone who organises the masterclasses I teach at a university. This year she told me that there won’t be any masterclasses. Students don’t like them and don’t see why they should have to attend them if the music being taught is ‘not relevant’ to them. Masterclasses are an ‘add-on’, […]

The lust for loudness

Posted by Susan Tomes on 31 August 2017 under Concerts, Daily Life, Musings, Teaching  •  1 Comment

Articles and letters in The Guardian recently have explored why some of today’s singers suffer from vocal problems, develop nodules on their vocal cords from singing so loudly, etc.  Curiously, the use of powerful amplification has not taken away the need to sing loudly: rather, it seems to create a vicious circle in which everything […]

Supplying the scenery from your own imagination

Posted by Susan Tomes on 19 August 2017 under Concerts, Musings  •  Leave a comment

Interesting discussions with friends about ‘concert performances’ of operas they’ve attended at this year’s Edinburgh Festival. I have been to two: Wagner’s ‘Die Walküre’ and Monteverdi’s ‘L’Incoronazione di Poppea’, both excellent, and I’ve been told that Britten’s ‘Peter Grimes’ was tremendous as well. We found it intriguing that these operas, performed without a conventional theatre […]

A five-hour opportunity to ponder audience concentration

Posted by Susan Tomes on 7 August 2017 under Concerts, Musings  •  4 Comments

Last night I went to a stupendous concert performance of Wagner’s ‘Die Walküre’ at the Edinburgh International Festival. (Thank you, Amber Wagner, Simon O’Neill, Christine Guerke, Bryn Terfel, Karen Cargill, Matthew Rose, conductor Sir Andrew Davis and the RSNO!) The two intervals were kept to a minimum, but the performance still lasted five hours and […]