One could say that I'm just trying to get some of the back news delivered or, if one wanted to be mean (honest) one could say that I'm procrastinating. I do wonder how to face yet another set of poorly written papers! Have I been teaching in Sumerian all semester? But my frustration with my students is rooted in a strong sense that perhaps I have failed them. Perhaps I really did not state clearly or effectively what it was I expected. Then, along comes a paper (or rather a digital e-paper) that is beautifully written and satisfies all the expectations I have. How did they do that when their professor is such a master of obfuscation?
On to the real topic: A concert practice that is driving me crazy! Alexander Paley, a concert pianist, now from the States, gave a wonderful, all-Chopin two-and-a-half hour concert last night to an almost sold-out house. He was brilliant, conducting both piano concertos from the piano, separated by a dazzling 45 non-stop minutes of Waltzes. The Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra (Strings) accompanied the concerti. They were not as brilliant having both intonation and balance issues from time to time. But even that is not as crazy-making as the 5-10 minute lecture we receive from the house Artistic Director before every section of every concert. As this concert had three sections, 2 intermissions, there were 3 lectures.
The topics vary widely and can be about the composer or the artist(s) but the lecture is obligatory. It is true that they do not spend much on programs, flimsy photocopied programs with scant notes and perhaps this is a little-known, hardly-recognized nod to an ecological saving of paper but expats are not used to it and, in a second language it take a great deal of concentration to get much out of it at all. The program notes, despite being written in Lithuanian, are much easier to understand as with a little time, I can understand the most important facts. The audience is completely happy with this verbal harangue and expects it, whereas North American artists would be a bit insulted with the apparent necessity of a lengthy preamble before they take the stage.
I am sad to say, however, that one practice, what I have come to call "The Standard Ovation" is international. It has become such a meaningless gesture.
Back to marking my friends!