Hey YouTube and Facebook, Can I Speak to You Guys for a Moment?

Hi YouTube and Facebook. I know you’re very busy, especially with the election and the pandemic and all that, so thank you for letting me have a moment of your time.

First of all, I hope you know that, now more than ever, we appreciate that you exist. Through your livestream platforms, you have allowed performing arts organizations such as ours to continue to bring music to our audiences during a time when it is unsafe for us to come together to enjoy live music events in person. The world would be a much lonelier place if we didn’t have you to help bring us together as a community.

Having said all that, here’s why you’re really honking me off:

Due to the increased volume of live performances on your platforms, you have decided to step up your game when it comes to policing content for possible copyright infringements. You do this through a magical algorithm…blah, blah, blah, something about bots. I would try to understand it better, but my head might explode.

I guess your bots randomly monitor livestream events, looking for music that sounds incredibly close to already released commercial recordings. If they lock onto material that they think is similar enough to one of these recordings, the punishment can range from temporarily muting or freezing the stream all the way up to banishing the presenter from their livestream platform, either temporarily or permanently.

Here’s what you should know about live music: While no two performances are exactly the same, in a larger sense, there are only so many ways to “authentically” perform a piece of classical music. Sometimes, if the stars align, a Spectrum string quartet may come close in pitch and tempo to, say, a passage from a Guarneri Quartet recording of the same piece. I assure you that if that happens, it is not because we are dubbing in the Guarneri recording as we air-bow our way through our parts. But (PLEASE!) try telling that to your bots, because I don’t think they are sophisticated enough to note the subtle differences between Spectrum and Guarneri. (Of course, I flatter myself to think even an unrefined bot would ever confuse our two ensembles.)

By the way, if the issue happens to be about the music, itself, I can assure you that Beethoven’s works are in the public domain, and we have paid the publishers for the right to use their particular editions of the sheet music. This is not like Rihanna or Elton John asking Donald Trump not to use their music at his campaign events. Beethoven, up in heaven, may not want to hear the 12 millionth performance of his Septet (one hopes he’s got his hearing back), but he’s not going to stop us, either. So neither should you.

Copyright infringement is a serious issue, and as a musician, it would be hypocritical for me to deny the importance of protecting an artist’s product. But your bots need to become a whole lot more discerning before I can be satisfied with your monitoring process.

So let me bottom-line this for you: While some of our fans are perfectly content watching livestream events on a website on their computer, many prefer to use your platforms—YouTube, in particular, is easy to bring up on our modern TVs and what-not. While we will offer them the opportunity to use your platforms to enjoy our concert, we will also have to warn them that the stream might suddenly go catywompus, and they might have to scramble off to another platform to continue to watch the performance. The result is that many will likely choose to avoid your platforms to ensure they do not experience any interruptions. You don’t really want that, do you?

Anyway, thank you for listening, and thank you for your service to the community. Have a nice day.

 

Welcome to the Fall Season of Spectrum

Spectrum Chamber Music Society is truly excited about our fall concerts. We weren’t going to let COVID-19 get the best of us, so we have gone “livestream-only” for the time being. I’ve heard from many of you who saw our first livestream-only event in June, and the general consensus is that it turned out great!

A lot of the credit for our success goes to the dedication and professionalism of the people at First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth. That’s why we are thrilled to come back to FUMCFW for our October 5 livestream-only event, featuring shorter—but every bit as powerful—string quartets and the Clarinet Quintet by Carl Maria von Weber (all performed with proper social distancing measures).

But that’s just the beginning. The people at First Jefferson Universalist Unitarian Church caught our June livestream and decided they wanted in. So we are pleased to announce that on October 26, we will present our very first livestream-only event at FJUUC! To celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, we will feature an all-Beethoven program that includes the magnificent Septet for Winds and Strings. (Again, we will be social distancing during this concert.) The folks at FJUUC have recently purchased new audio-visual equipment, and they are looking forward to showing you what they can do.

Unfortunately, we will be missing a key element during these performances: You. Even though we can’t have actual human bodies in the seats, we think we’ve found the next best thing: Cardboard cutouts of our fans! You can find out more about how to participate in this crazy idea here.

We hope that these livestream concerts will satisfy your need for chamber music until we can see each other again in person. May that day come very soon….

Season 33 Continues!

Spectrum Celebrates Valentine’s Day

It’s Valentine’s Day season, and Spectrum Chamber Music Society is celebrating!

Our Spectrum Downtown concert will feature a program of duets (with a trio slipped in to shake things up), and end with a unique setting of the poetry of Lewis Carroll from his “Alice in Wonderland” books…performed by two tubas and narrator!

Then it’s a “Labor of Love” at our Spectrum East concert, as we follow Valentine’s Day with a performance of the passionate Piano Quintet in E minor by Romantic Austrian composer, Joseph Labor. (See what we did there?)

Bring someone you love to our concerts, and spread the word to all your chamber-music-loving friends!

Spectrum Downtown
Monday February 11, 2019 at 7:00pm

We’re Back in Leonard Memorial Chapel!
First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth
800 W. 5th Street, Fort Worth, TX 76102

Program

Rebecca Clarke—Prelude, Allegro, and Pastorale for Clarinet and Viola
Robert Schumann—Fairy Tales for Clarinet, Viola, and Piano, Op. 132
Reinhold Gliere/Frank Proto—Suite for Viola and Bass
Raymond Luedeke (text by Lewis Carroll)—Wonderland Duets for Two Tubas and Narrator

Free Admission (as part of FUMC’s “The Gift of Music” Series)
Free Post-Concert Reception

Spectrum East
Monday February 18, 2019 at 7:30pm

Main Sanctuary
First Jefferson Unitarian Universalist Church
1959 Sandy Lane, Fort Worth TX 76112

Program

Ludwig van Beethoven—Sonata No. 8 in G Major for Violin and Piano, Op.30, No. 3
Osvaldo Golijov—​Mariel for Cello and Marimba
​Josef Labor—Piano Quintet in E minor, Op. 3

Freewill Donations Accepted—Suggested Amount: $15 for Adults, $10 for Seniors and Students
Free Post-Concert Reception

Spectrum Chamber Music Society features great performances by musicians of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and friends.