Wednesday, October 28, 2009
A controversy has sprung-up pertaining to the seating order of the string section in orchestras. According to Jaime Weinman's article, many violinists dislike the seating position involving the divide due to the crippling effect the technique has on the player's ability to hear each other. Concerning this debate, "Symphony orchestras have two separate violin sections, and there are two ways to seat them: all the violins on the conductor's left, or "divided," with the first violins on the left and second violins on the right.""The difficulties players have hearing one another on the Avery Fisher Hall stage make such adjustments especially challenging", explains a New York Times article, referring to Allen Gilbert's new seating arrangements.
Detached Writing Version of Article:
The issue of where to seat the string section in orchestras has become a debatable issue. There subsist two different ways of arranging the string section. Some symphony's whom have experienced the "divided" concept proclaim to abhor the technique. The reason why involves the players having "difficulty hearing one another [while] on the stage".
On my way to recital, I notice a different car occupying the "reserved" parking space designated for the New York Philharmonic conductor . Still pondering the unexplained phenomenon, i stumble into the practice room to find a different man standing on my conductor's podium. Confused, i take my regular seat. Engaged in the process of unpacking my violin, i find myself being told that we now have new seating positions. Dumbfounded, i question the stranger as to why the sudden change and ask why he stands ever so aloofly upon my conductor's podium. He explains how he has taken over the previous conductor's position, and that he likes to have the string section "divided" on stage. Still frazzled, i decide to take my new seat on the other side of the Second Violins. As we begin to play, i notice an absence of sound from the seconds. Assuming that they must have missed their cue to begin, i peer over to see frantic bows flying up and down the strings repeatedly. In shock i abruptly stop playing, bringing the rest of my section to a stand-still.The new conductor lowers his baton bringing the rest of the orchestra to a dead silence. I tell the man how i can't hear the second's playing at all and that this set-up does not enhance our playing abilities. He simply shrugs and raises his baton. Outraged, i gather up my instrument, storm towards my car, and dial my conductor's number.