Everything that is wrong with „Mozart in the Jungle“, Season 1, Episode 6

Episode 6: The Rehearsal

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(nur auf spanisch, aber auch lustig!)

1) The photographer must have planned his „greatest shot ever“ well in advance, as it is not normal for a conductor to have 60 batons or so at his disposal everywhere he/she goes. Most are happy with just one baton. Well, two I guess.

2) Just a word about the beginning music: we all know by now that there is a shot of a skyline of New York made out of musical notes and then we hear the start of an oboe melody – which is then brutally cut off. All this takes about 1 ½ seconds. But you might be amazed to learn – if you watch until the end credits – that it took 4 composers (!), 1 arranger and two (!) publishing houses to bring you these 1 ½ seconds of music. And I guess they all laugh on their way to the bank.

3) So “Maestros” are necessary to “run” an orchestra? I thought that was your job, Gloria? Conductors conduct and program and make artistic choices, but they don’t run the everyday business of paying wages and the like. I love how actress Bernadette Peters manages to create a completely convincing permanent drunken slur in her voice without ever overdoing it, by the way. Must have been hard to practice (or not).

4) I love how the backstage has a big sign pointing to the “Organ Room”. They must have filmed it at the backstage are of the Radio City Music Hall, which has the largest theater pipe organ….for a movie theater.

5) That’s not the way to signal that a rehearsal is cancelled on short notice. The rescheduling of 70+ busy people (who – as we learned – all have additional and sometimes awful orchestra jobs with other ensembles to somehow get by in NY, even bitchy first oboe who charges 400,-USD per lesson for some reason) the next day would be a logistical nightmare and most of them would not be able to make it. Or bring a sweater, for that matter.

6) What a great way to conduct oboe lessons: in the kitchen of your shared apartment, where your cursing tattooist flatmate might appear any moment in a flimsy outfit and where you get a stream of SMS-messages by your lovers on your cell phone, which you conveniently placed on the table directly next to the student so you can get the maximum distraction out of it. If Hailey wasn’t hot, nobody would want to go there!

7) Even though the sign for the cancelled rehearsal said “location to be declared” not only did everybody in the orchestra know where to meet, there was also a bus for them! All of this would be impossible to organize in the space of an afternoon – Hailey would simply have no time for oboe lessons if she was Rodrigo’s assistant, she would be completely stressed out phoning everybody personally and making sure the bus was there without reserving it weeks in advance like normally.

8) Rodrigo set some chairs up, but conveniently forgot the note stands. Even though the orchestra musicians were told “to bring a sweater”, there weren’t told to bring their music stand. The rehearsal would be a flop from the start!

9) The waiter knows 3 seconds after health-obsessed sponsor dick’s appearance at the restaurant with Gloria what food he eats and serves it…but he doesn’t know that sponsor dick doesn’t eat any bread?

10) No orchestra knows the 1812 overture by heart. Although it is theoretically possible that individual players may know parts of it, they could never just start playing without any kind of preparation. It is simply impossible. My hunch is the budget would have been stretched by bringing note stands to the slum. They are not as cheap as many people think!

11) Not surprisingly the musician’s movements don’t match the sound at all when the piece starts. And the strings at the beginning would not be heard because of the traffic noise and the lack of a resonating hall. Even people passing directly at the fence would hear very little of the music and probably be too busy to notice the orchestra!

12) In a real orchestra Hailey would not be allowed to play the cymbals if she wasn’t a percussionist, union regulations, sorry about that. But a real orchestra would also not do this kind of publicity stunt except if they all agreed to it months in advance. With the union.

13) Bob the union guy would complain alright, but he would do it BEFORE the rehearsal. The union laws would force him to. But you know, f*** it, it’s a nice fantasy to have an orchestra doing what they do here. It would actually be pretty cool if orchestra musicians danced with the neighbors, showed their instruments to the kids and ordered pizza for everyone. And that’s what the screenwriters want to say, and I’m all for that, actually. But still: it is a fantasy. Sadly.

14) Bitchy first oboe gives lessons at 6:30 a.m. in the morning? Seriously? I know not a single classical musician who gets up at this time, except if they have kids. No kids here, I’m afraid.

15) 80.000,-USD for one rehearsal (according to Gloria)? No wonder “classical music is losing money the last 400 years” (according to Gloria).

Moritz Eggert

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