Scherzo

Toby Appel's Irreverent Guide to the Orchestra

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Toby Appel takes a twisted view of the musicians of the orchestra.

Toby Appel takes a twisted view of the musicians of the orchestra. iStockphoto.com hide caption

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Juilliard professor and Performance Today commentator Toby Appel has a violist's-eye view of his musical colleagues. In this humorous commentary, he characterizes the members of the orchestra and sets the record straight on their roles in the organization.

Part I is a general introduction to the four major groups in the orchestra: woodwinds (low- to mid-genius IQ), strings (neurotic primadonnas), brass (loudmouthed drunkards), and percussion (the worst-mannered of all). In Part II, Appel breaks things down further by discussing the individual instruments and their players' distinctive characteristics. He also explains who that person is standing in front of the orchestra playing no instrument at all.

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