I bet no one would give chocolates away!
Hola a todos. I wrote about this some time ago here. The tradition of giving flowers — at the end of classical music performances — to the conductor, soloists and or Chorus Director has become outdated, seemingly almost a bother to some, and lost its purpose. Do most on stage and some of the audience say to themselves and to each other, “Oh here come the flowers to be passed around, as usual. Who will give their flowers to whom?” Usually the females in the string section are the target for someone’s flowers. Even the Queer boy performers give their flowers to females — rather than to a guy as I would hope he would — because he’s in the closet and doesn’t want anyone to dare think he might be gay. (roll eyes) Sigh. We’ve made tremendous progress [sarcasm intended].
I watched a performance from Amsterdam the other night. It was from September 2020 during the COVID plague. The orchestral members were very distanced (although no masks on anyone) and the Chorus had roughly 34 voices by my count (no masks). There were four choristers per row in three sections. It was a Chamber Chorus of the Nederlands Radio Choir. They performed superbly and their Chorus Director was acknowledged which was good to see.
Mi amigo/My friend wondered why these superb musicians were risking their lives and their health to perform this piece? How many of them got sick? Did anyone die because of coronavirus infection?
One interesting thing about this performance was that all musicians except the conductor were wearing a flower brooch of pretty flowers on their shirts to celebrate the collaboration between the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and The Netherlands Radio Choir. They were celebrating their 75th anniversary together.
Well, after the piece was performed, a representative from orchestral management brought out two bunches of pretty flowers. One for the conductor and one for the Chorus Director. Well, within seconds the conductor gave her flowers to the First Concertmaster, which I interpreted to mean that she thought the Orchestra was more deserving of the flowers than herself (they did play beautifully), since the First Concertmaster is the representative for the Orchestra. He looked like he was perhaps thinking, “What am I supposed to do with these? I don’t want them. These were given to you Ms Conductor” and he laid the flowers on the stage floor near his music stand. (Yet he didn’t seem to have a problem with the flower brooch he was wearing on his shirt, or had he forgotten that he was wearing that?). The Second Concertmaster looked on with curiosity and said something to the First Concertmaster about the bouquet of flowers. But it also looked like maybe she (the conductor) wasn’t a gracious receiver of a gift by giving her flowers away that she had just received within seconds of receiving them. The Chorus Director graciously kept his flowers. That was good to see.
What is it with pretty flowers that so many musicians seemingly have a problem with them? I don’t understand this. Yes, I know the tradition is old and outdated — like many of these other ludicrous and conservative traditions — but can’t musicians at least act like they appreciate the gift of flowers even if they don’t? That’s called being gracious. And what other gifts do they give away within seconds of receiving them and in public view? The appearance is that of being very ungrateful.
This was also the first time that I’ve seen a female musician give her flowers to another musician. I’ve only seen guys do that up until now.
This got me to thinking: How about replacing flowers — which it seems “nobody” wants — with high-quality organic chocolates/truffles. I bet nobody would be eager to give chocolates away. Just a small box of chocolates. Something to consider.
I think this flower tradition has become too predictable and outdated. It’s from a different era or something. It’s not really relevant to today it seems, like many other outdated and silly traditions of the classical music genre. Don’t get me started on those!
It seems that innocent flowers have the ability to threaten and or strip many male musicians of their masculinity. Who knew that flowers could do that and had that much power? Well I’ve heard of flower power. So many male musicians are especially quick to show their sexism by dumping their flowers in the nearest female’s lap — usually a violinists or violists — rather than being a “real man” and showing the audience that “real men like flowers” just like they like the colour pink, as much as anyone else. But it seems that no one possesses that level of masculinity or maturity. I mean, “real men” do gardening, correct? Correct. What makes flowers any different? Flowers are part of gardening. Just because they have pretty blooms, that makes them “feminine” and only for females? Is that the twisted brainwashing of these “macho” guys who are threatened by flowers? That would seem to be the case in some instances.
Interestingly, the male musicians — including the First Concertmaster — on stage in Amsterdam didn’t seem at all threatened by the flower brooch on their shirts that I mentioned earlier.
Well, I don’t expect any of these guys in the classical music world to change their behaviour. Therefore, how about changing this silly tradition instead and end this disrespect for pretty flowers on the public stage.
It’s time to abandon the flowers and move to a gift that I think most people of either gender would really appreciate: Organic high-quality chocolates. And the gift box should be nothing “feminine-looking” or gaudy, otherwise they’ll end up in some female’s lap too. Just a gender-neutral box, tasteful-looking with maybe a simply ribbon on it to show it’s a gift box that either gender would want. Give that a go. Nothing cheap and tawdry now when it comes to the chocolates. Give the best organic chocolates with the finest ingredients you can find, nothing artificial. Chau.—el barrio rosa