Saturday, February 14, 2015

Dear Mills College:

1. I hope you will figure out how to do publicity for your musical events. It is embarrassing when one of the world's greatest living pianists turns up to perform at Mills and your beautiful 450-seat concert hall is half empty.

2. That piano is also an embarrassment.

3. Spot the error in this sentence, found in the program:
The Andante Sostenuto in C-sharp minor is a movement comparable in style to the slow movement ot the great String Quartet in C, D. 956, composed during the same period.
I admit, the above might be in notes provide by M-AH's management, but doesn't anybody bother to proofread this stuff?


Tod Brody said...

Ouch on several counts. And that sentence has at least two errors, the grammatical one and the factual one. Schubert's D.956 is the great QUINTET is C.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Whoops - I think that the grammatical error is, in reality, a typographical error on my part! But yes, the Quintet!

Michael said...

Why the harping on typos in this blog? People make mistakes, including proofreaders; you've made at least two in the post immediately above.

Lisa Hirsch said...

The substance of this posting is the poor treatment by a presenter of a prominent musician. Poor publicity, program notes with a significant error of fact, and a crappy piano.

It's obviously unintentional; no presenter does this intentionally. The Mills Music Dept. hasn't got its own publicist, I am sure, although they send out periodic concert announcements by postal mail. High-quality pianos are expensive to buy (and probably a pain to rent and transport for a single concert).

Of the problems I saw, the one that's easiest to fix is the substitution of quartet for quintet. It's not really "harping" to want concert notes to be correct, proofread by someone who is musically knowledgable, or for an artist's management company to send correct program notes (if that's how these notes were put together).

Errors also have a habit of being replicated and persisting over time. Michael Lorenz's blog has some amazing examples of this, where a researcher or writer's carelessness results in an error persisting over decades in the musicological research. Here is one example.

I make, and correct, typos on a regular basis. (I try to fix them, anyway!) But there's a difference between an informal medium such as a blog and a formally published article or program note.