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Most dreaded requests...


concertA
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Had my lesson last night...we're working on stuff for the kiddies' spring concert which is all western/country/fiddle music. My teacher said she had contacted some country guys to help out and they just sighed when she told them we're playing O.B Special-that it is a piece everyone requests and they just dread it. "Oh, wow, you play fiddle, would you play Orange Blossom Special for me?"

Then we started talking about dreaded pieces in Classical music. She thought Canon in D was overly requested.

What is your most dreaded musical requests-either classical, fiddle or otherwise?

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Whilst nothing from the mainstream violin literature ever held any fear for me, especially when I was younger and bolder, I always used to dread being asked by some wealthy but musically illiterate patron of the arts to play certain items. Having to explain that Beethoven's fifth, Mozart's 40th or Schubert's "The trout" were not solo violin pieces was always embarassing and got rather tedious after a while.

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ConcertA, I agree with your teacher, Pachabel's Canon in D is definitely overplayed. It makes me suicidal. It is such a beautiful piece, and technically, it is reachable by anyone that knows third position (though not necessarily played beautifully at that level)--so everyone plays it. And plays it. And plays it again. Old people LOVE it (in fact I'm going to play it at a nursing home this Monday for community service... ). It knows no boundaries...I mean, I bet people play it on bagpipes.

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It could be worse. At school, it is often said to me, "Wow, you play violin. Do you know a piece called Allegro?" I ask them who it's by, and they reply, "I don't know!" They are greatly shocked when I explain to them that Allegro is a tempo indication, not the name of only one piece of music.

Carlo.

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La Ronde des Lutins, Zigeunerwisen, Carmen, Souvenir d'amerique - any of these from memory without warm-up.

In quartet certainly 4 seasons!

Once at a wedding someone (the bride) asked for Massenet meditation - I said I only knew it as a solo, so she said play anyway! - at which point the 2nd violin and cello made it up the whole way through!!!!

Oh and Ab melodic minor without warm-up! or scales in 3rds!

T_D

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Carlo,

Just play some Allegro (this works better if you're actually prepared with a good one). If they say that's not the one they meant, just say, there are lots of them, and sorry, you don't know the one they're asking for. No red faces that way.

TD,

I'll bet no one knew the difference.

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I guess you'll just have to learn the piece, then.

Along the same line, Roy Dymott told me a howler. Some middle-aged women came up to him, rattling her jewels, and asked him, "Excuse me, is that a first violin or a second violin?" Without hesitation, he replied, "It's a second violin," which was true.

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My step-father is from Brasil and plays/sings in a Brasilian samba/bossonova band. I would have to say for him the probably most requested song would be "Girl from Ipanema." Other jazz, maybe "Misty" or "My Funny Valentine." I was thinking about piano and I always used to ask a piano-playing friend of mine to play "Fur Elise" and "The Entertainer."

What about guitar? Maybe "Dueling Banjos" from Deliverance?

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I was doing this gig once, and I got the same "do you know the 'Allegro'?" request. I made all the noises about how there were literally thousands of allegros, and the guy finally said, "Oh, well, it's the one by Bach!" So I played a few bars for him of every Bach allegro movement that came to mind, but each time he would shake his head. "No, it's the Allegro by Bach." I gave up after a few minutes, and the guy wanders off with his date, saying loud enough for me to hear, "That moron doesn't know anything about classical music." I keep telling myself that if we'd been a better quartet, we'd have had better audiences. I'm getting the impression in this thread that this is not true.

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I once heard that when an Celtic band gets asked to play "Irish Washerwoman", it's customary to play "Swallowtail". For "Ashkan Farewell", there's "Amelia's Waltz." Maybe when a string quartet gets asked to play "1812", we should substitute "Eighth of January" (Feelin' no Pain), or a jazzed-up version of "Wait 'til the Sun Shines, Nellie". Now what should we use for "LondonDerriere"?

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Oh, gosh, I don't even know where to start...

Definately the Pachabel cannon. Then 4 Treasons. What insturment is the Pachabel Cannon written for anyways? I've had the allegro request before. The first one to come to mind was the first movement of mozart 3, for some reason, but I knew it wasn't that. So, I guessed, and I was right- Allegro from Suzuki book one.

I've also had the "Rondo" request. That's also interesting.

But that's in classical music- I had a student that was five and walked into her first lesson and said "I want to learn to play "Get this party started" by pink. With the words." She got really disapointed when I told her that the violin can't do words.

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For my husband, "most dreaded" status goes to anything by Andrew Lloyd Webber, but most particularly, "All I Ask of You" (which we seem to have to play at EVERY wedding). Insipid factor: 10.

For our cellist, it is undoubtedly Pachabel's notorious "Canon" (or perhaps "cannon"--which musicologist Jim Svedja cleverly describes as "large bore").

I'll play anything. I'm particularly fond of "Misty" and "Deep Purple."

Yesterday, my daughters' quartet played a wedding gig at which they were asked to play (improvise) "Take Me Out To the Ball Game." That has to be one of the more bizarre requests! I guess all the wedding guests stood up and sang (seventh-inning stetch!). Play ball?

J.

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In reply to:

Yesterday, my daughters' quartet played a wedding gig at which they were asked to play (improvise) "Take Me Out To the Ball Game." That has to be one of the more bizarre requests!


I can equal that, maybe not top it. Some of the crazy suff I have played on gigs:

I get a kick out of you ( as the recessional)

Grandma got run over by a reindeer, at a funeral.

Misty Mountain Hop, Stairway to Heaven by Zeppelin

My my most dreaded request? If I am playing a solo gig, and people have heard that I play rock and Jazz music too. The old "can you play some Rock" really gets to me; I try politely to explain that I do not have a drummer, Bass Player, Keyboard Player, Guitar player, an amp, or my electric violin with me.

In college, I strolled 3 nights a week at a Quality Inn in St. Louis. Truckers frequented the Bar, and They would give me 5 bucks to play " Theme from Love Story" to one of their drunken Friends, to embarrass him. I love being a musical whore

I have a wedding Saturday Morning at my Parents Church. I didnt tell them about it ( They live in Hour away), because they would crash the gig.

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Speaking of whores, we once played "Moonriver" (from "Breakfast at Tiffany's") as the bride's processional. I don't think she was a call girl . . . . but . . . It was a strange choice!

Albinoni's Adagio was another strange choice for a processional--funerary music if you ask me. I can't separate it from the scenes of carnage in "Galipoli."

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Jane, for my very own Brother's wedding, I played " Sunrise, Sunset" from Fiddler on the Roof, for the Mothers to walk into. My little Catholic Mama asked me to play it. She didnt understand the symbolism, she just likes the tune.

My Brother's wife committed suicide, so when he got re-remarried, I played an Elvis tune for my current Sister-in-law. Obviously not my choice, but she really was moved.

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We've had a similar experience with "Sunrise, Sunset."

Here's a good one: Our friends--who, at the time of their marriage, were students at the New England Conservatory--had an NEC brass choir (with tympani) play an arrangement of Berlioz's "March to the Gallows" from Symphony Fantastique as their processional music!

All in good fun. Thirty years later, they are still married.

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