Allow me to preface this review of Dvořák Symphony Orchestra Prague’s performance at the Municipal House with this disclaimer:
Although I took private violin lessons for more than 10 years, participating in county orchestras in addition to playing as first violinist for school orchestras up until college, I am actually quite a bad violinist. Under personal pressure after realizing my unnatural affinity for classical violin playing among truly talented musicians, I quit after my freshman year in college. I have hardly touched my violin since then, so I don’t consider myself naturally gifted, only a Chinese kid raised on lessons and never really liking it until I quit and only then realized the beauty in contemporary string music. Anyway, I still like to think that I know more than the average person when it comes to orchestras. You’ve been warned.
So while planning activities to do during the several days I’m here visiting my sister with my mom, as a Review Reliant Tourist, I found that the Municipal House is not only a beautiful venue and restaurant space, but it also hosts performances. Of course, I had to book a performance and once I saw “Pachelbel, Mozart, Vivaldi” in the title, I figured, “Why not?!”
IF ONLY I HAD LOOKED AT THE PROGRAM MORE CLOSELY.
At 8 p.m., the small orchestra walked out, sat down in front of their stands, and started playing—wait for it—Pachelbel’s CANON IN D. You’re shitting me, right? They didn’t have the piece memorized?! It’s literally the most basic piece that any violinist plays at least five times throughout their years.
Look! This random Asian kid knows how to play it BY MEMORY.
Heck, I played a modified version for my high school graduation with my amateur quartet after we found inspiration on YouTube. (Watch this, it’s hilarious.)
And we’re expected to pay $60 to watch what literally was amateur hour? I couldn’t believe that these “professional musicians” would play such a ridiculous set of pieces that any violinist would have played at least once in their careers.
There was not one moment during the 60 minutes where I thought to myself, “Wow, I’m impressed.” My thoughts were more along the lines of, “Wow, don’t they feel bad for scamming these tourists?” and “Give me a week. I could play this after years of not playing.” I’m not even trying to brag about my abilities. I’m probably terrible now but it doesn’t take that long to refresh those muscles to play CANON. IN. D. OMG.
Even my mom said our middle school county orchestra played better than them. We probably played the same pieces.
Yes, it’s partly my fault for not bothering to look at the program more closely. That itself is an amateur mistake, but come on. I would have never expected such a terrible concert. It made me think that this contributes to why people don’t like classical music. When they give any chance to listen to it, they see this shit—how can they be impressed? Everyone’s heard this before. It doesn’t seem that difficult. Classical music? PASS.
In reality, the violin is a beautiful instrument that can produce even more beautiful music. Since I’ve quit, I’ve actually discovered an entirely different side to string music—the contemporary mixed with classical. I’m a huge fan of 2cellos and the Piano Guys. I’ve seen them in concert, and I would gladly pay big bucks to see them again. They impress me. What they do is talent. What the people who call themselves professionals tonight are unashamed scammers.
I’m still incredibly disappointed and angered at the performance I witnessed today. I couldn’t stop complaining to my mom afterward. There is so much more I can say, but I think I’m done ranting to whomever reads this.
Thanks for reading. That concert sucked. Please go support actual talent: