worse still was the prospect of an honorable mention
On Monday night, conductor Eric Townell announced that the Rochester Oratorio Society (ROS) had been invited to enter a singing contest in Beijing, a kind of Chinese Idol with four judges and prizes and everything. After hearing more about it, he decided we would not compete, since three of the judges are Chinese and the other is Polish. It seemed likely, Eric said, that politics might influence the outcome. Needless pressure.
I also learned this week that the Olympics used to include a musical contest. Gold, silver, and bronze medals were handed out to composers until 1948. In his fascinating Guardian article, Anthony Bateman writes,
“This meanness on the part of the judges became a feature of the music Olympics over the coming years . . . Another problem was that composers of stature preferred to sit on the judging panel, rather than risk denting their reputations by winning an ignominious bronze (should one be deemed worth giving). Worse still was the prospect of an ‘honourable mention.’”
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I’m exploring the possibility of recording personal audio diaries during the ROS's upcoming trip to China. I’ve attached my first one below. It’s about four minutes long.