Sunday 29 October 2017

Shrink-flating the London Symphony Orchestra, an FMCG parallel?

As part of the cut-backs in funding for the Arts, a government official attended a recent performance and reported a follows:

Schubert’s No.8 in B Minor

To the Chairman, The London Symphony Orchestra

After attending a recent performance of this work, we make the following recommendations:
  1. We note that the twelve first violins were playing identical notes, as were the second violins. Three violins in each section, suitably amplified, would seem to us to be adequate.
  2. Much unnecessary labour is involved in the number of demisemiquavers in this work. We suggest that many of these could be rounded up to the nearest semiquaver, thus saving practice time for the individual player and rehearsal time for the entire ensemble. This simplification would also make more use of trainee and less-skilled players with only marginal loss of precision.
  3. We could find no productivity value in string passages being repeated by the horns; all tutti repeats could also be eliminated without any reduction in efficiency.
  4. In so labour-intensive an undertaking as a symphony, we regard the long oboe tacet passages to be extremely wasteful. What notes this instrument is required to play, could, subject to a satisfactory demarcation conference with the Musicians’ Union, be shared out equitably with the other instruments.

If the above recommendations are implemented, the piece under consideration could be played through in less than half an hour, with concomitant savings in lighting, heating and overtime, wear and tear on the instruments and hall rental fees. Also had the composer been aware of modern cost-effective procedures, he might well have finished this work…

Just like cutting back the contents of our best brand and thinking our most regular consumers won't notice...

And almost as bad as not caring if they do...!

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