Classical Guitar on the Stage...how do we compare?

Talk about things that are not necessarily related to music or the guitar.
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Charles Mokotoff
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Classical Guitar on the Stage...how do we compare?

Post by Charles Mokotoff » Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:52 pm

I hope this inspires lively and intelligent discussion…recently I heard a guitar soloist give a concert, the music and playing was pretty good, but the stage deportment something else. Music fell off the stand, guitar was placed onto the artist bench while snatching up something off stage, lots of very unprepared commentary given with no concept of vocal projection or, from what I could tell, anything even remotely worth saying. Far too much talking/mumbling as well. (This has nothing to do with my own hearing issues, fully hearing friends who were there said the same).

A few weeks later I heard a couple of college age string players give recitals (with piano accompaniment). What a contrast! They knew how to bow, walk on and off stage, speak clearly and succinctly and, all in all, perform professionally.

What say you colleagues? I know there are MANY pro players (David R and Jason V. come to mind) who not only perform music in a world class manner, but also behave on stage in a way to make us all proud. But from my own decades of observing, there are a disproportionate number of guitarists who just don’t seem to know the first thing about what to do on stage other than play.

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Re: Classical Guitar on the Stage...how do we compare?

Post by Lovemyguitar » Mon Oct 02, 2017 4:20 pm

I have quite different experiences from yours. Every classical guitarist I have seen has been very professional and organised in every respect. Those who had sheet music were certainly in control of it, and each of them talked (usually briefly) about the pieces they played in an informative and interesting manner (and in a clear voice).

I go to a lot of classical performances, and in many cases (especially solo pianists, for some reason), the musicians don't say a word: they come out, play, bow, leave. But, they play professionally and beautifully -- I'm there for the music, after all, and most of them have quite extensive programme notes for us to read, to acquire background and information about the pieces and the composers (unlike guitarists, whose programmes often just list the names of the pieces/composers and nothing more).

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ragdoll serenade
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Re: Classical Guitar on the Stage...how do we compare?

Post by ragdoll serenade » Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:28 pm

I have not experienced that. Performers I have seen have been pretty professional. That is not to say that some were able to develop a connection to the audience while others were not. I attend a couple of masterclasses every summer at the Music Academy of the West. They do not have a guitar program (don't get me started) so I am seeing high level young players performing on cello, violin, piano etc. Rarely will the instructors talk with the students about technique, often the focus of the class will be interpretation. There is frequently discussion at these classes on presentation and onstage presence, relating to the audience etc. It's important and in the highly competitive field of solo or small ensemble performance, I can see that it could make or break a career.

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Charles Mokotoff
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Re: Classical Guitar on the Stage...how do we compare?

Post by Charles Mokotoff » Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:15 pm

Talking on stage is just a part of it. I am really noticing everything but the playing, including clothes, bowing, walking on and off and the method the audience is greeted. If/when they speak, do they project the voice well? Is the verbiage succinct and pithy? Are they speaking in English but not fluent in it? Don't want to name any names, but my experience the last few years points to a stark contract between us and them...

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Re: Classical Guitar on the Stage...how do we compare?

Post by riffmeister » Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:30 pm

Charles Mokotoff wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:15 pm
Is the verbiage succinct and pithy?
I always wear my pith helmet when performing....to help ensure the pith factor.

(you did say you wanted lively discussion in this thread, didn't you?) (intelligent discussion costs extra)

:mrgreen:

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Charles Mokotoff
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Re: Classical Guitar on the Stage...how do we compare?

Post by Charles Mokotoff » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:40 pm

Ladies and gentlemen...he's back!

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Re: Classical Guitar on the Stage...how do we compare?

Post by Keith » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:59 pm

All of the performers I have seen, classical and flamenco, have behaved in a manner that was courteous and polite and were gracious when the audience acknowledged their performance. I think I could forgive sheet music falling off the stand and having to place the guitar on the bench to retrieve the sheet music--I cannot recall a classical or flamenco performance where I have seen a guitar stand on stage. I would find mumbling and inane comments to be counter-productive to providing the audience a professional and enjoyable experience. I could excuse accents and such (as I am a displaced Bostonian now living in Kentucky) but boorish behavior or not respecting the audience would be a equivalent to drinking really bad bourbon or eating Red Lobster lobster rolls rather than one from Red's up in Maine.
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Re: Classical Guitar on the Stage...how do we compare?

Post by Rick Beauregard » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:50 pm

I see this in students. But Parkening's students are well trained on professional stage presence. At his masterclasses they all made a professional impression. Teachers take note.
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Re: Classical Guitar on the Stage...how do we compare?

Post by MrF1 » Tue Oct 03, 2017 1:24 am

Rick Beauregard wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:50 pm
But Parkening's students are well trained on professional stage presence. At his masterclasses they all made a professional impression.
I had the good fortune of seeing Parkening play back in the 1993 with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra in Little Rock. He was fantastic, played the concerto de aranjuez perfectly, all-in-all a splendid, world-class performance. I came to find out the next day that he was suffering from a horrible cold during the performance. As the old saying goes, "the show must go on", and Christopher Parkening delivered the professional goods.

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Charles Mokotoff
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Re: Classical Guitar on the Stage...how do we compare?

Post by Charles Mokotoff » Tue Oct 03, 2017 2:59 am

Regarding accents: some are charming, some less so. Bottom line, if you choose to speak in English (seems to be the norm around here in the USA) can you make yourself clearly understood? I listened to one pro Brazilian player, and again, my hearing is terrible so I asked others, hardly anyone understood what he was saying. He played beautifully, so...really? Why bother talking at all?

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Re: Classical Guitar on the Stage...how do we compare?

Post by Whiteagle » Tue Oct 03, 2017 1:29 pm

This hasn't been my experience. I can't remember a concert where the players weren't professional and prepared in their presentation and discussion about pieces etc.

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Re: Classical Guitar on the Stage...how do we compare?

Post by wchymeus » Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:47 pm

Charles Mokotoff wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 2:59 am
Why bother talking at all?
hmm maybe he has respect for the audience and wanted to convey some messages... kinda what we call communication.
If I may, sure English is spoken in the US, but you can appreciate that a Brazilian artist is trying his best to speak in a foreign language. Not like say... Segovia for example.

Like others here, all recitals/concerts I have attended to were if not professional at least very human and touching, even if I could sense some discomfort or clumsiness with some.
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Re: Classical Guitar on the Stage...how do we compare?

Post by Dofpic » Tue Oct 03, 2017 4:11 pm

Riffmeister oh Riffmeister we have missed you!
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Charles Mokotoff
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Re: Classical Guitar on the Stage...how do we compare?

Post by Charles Mokotoff » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:01 pm

Whiteagle wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 1:29 pm
This hasn't been my experience. I can't remember a concert where the players weren't professional and prepared in their presentation and discussion about pieces etc.
Very pleased to hear this!

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Re: Classical Guitar on the Stage...how do we compare?

Post by Pat Dodson » Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:56 pm

riffmeister wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:30 pm
Charles Mokotoff wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:15 pm
Is the verbiage succinct and pithy?
I always wear my pith helmet when performing....to help ensure the pith factor.

(you did say you wanted lively discussion in this thread, didn't you?) (intelligent discussion costs extra)

:mrgreen:
:bravo:

Concert Attire and Audience Rapport: Taking the Pith. :wink:

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