Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Sex, Drugs and...

With a title like that you half expect this to be a book on Rock n' Roll until you see the words 'classical music'. Blair Tindall, professional oboeist, apparently knocks the lid off classical music with some exposees of classical music's sexy side.

Her memoirs feature tell-all stories from the pits of the orchestra pit, including the political in-fighting and stress that lead to drug and alcohol abuse, among other leisure activities. She also attacks greedy maestros and well established professionals who take advantage of young musicians, desperate for work. We have all known for some time that certain conductors are paid far too much and that most classical musicians earn peanuts.

Tindall claims that sex played a decisive role in her musical career. She says she was simultaneously involved with three leading New York oboists — two married — who gave her work in their orchestras. One had a maxim: “The section that lays together plays together.”

Read more here

As an interesting aside to drugs and classical music, I have heard that it is not at all uncommon for classical performers to take beta-blockers like propranolol (for stage-fright) which work by blocking the production of adrenaline which is triggered by the body's natural response to fear--- whether it is fear of being mugged in a dark alley way or the fear of perfoming live for an audience! However, to my way of thinking, a little stage anxiety can only be a good thing. The adrenaline which is triggered by a performing- anxious musician can be harnessed for a high energy performance, but I'm not a performer, so what do I know? :) I do know however, that this book is bound to create renewed interest in classical music so, if to that end her book is successful, I am all for it.