Thoughts of this coming weekend’s concerts of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra conducted by their tech-loving Music Director, Jeffrey Kahane, reminded me of how he has increasingly taken to using iPads instead of regular sheet music, especially when playing the piano. Among other reasons, it helps him avoid page-turning snafus. Timo Andres also used one when he played with the orchestra last month.
Is page turning really fraught with that much danger? Well, maybe.
There was the unfortunate page turner at Marino Formenti’s recital earlier this year. In addition, I was reminded of the two videos below. The first is definitely how NOT to do it. The second works, but perhaps is not the approved solution.
Page turning seems remarkably difficult. A couple of seasons ago, during a recital with Ax and Bronfman, Bronfman’s page turner became hopelessly lost. Poor Bronfman kept looking over as if to say “what are you doing?” Finally, he turned it himself. And all this was in the context of a difficult modern work. There was another snafu during the final concert of the Piatigorsky cello festival at Disney Hall. Mischa Maisky took only a brief pause between works. The page turner expected applause between them, but Maisky and his accompanist took off and left the page turner in the dust.
As a person who frequently utilizes a coin flip app, I feel ill-equipped to appropriately comment.
I’ve turned pages once or twice. Not easy, and nerve-wracking as all get out.
I think page turners are a lot like long snappers in football — completely unappreciated when things are normally going well, and painfully the center of attention when things go wrong.
I’ve never page turned for anyone in a paying gig, but when I paged turned as a student, I practiced once or twice with the soloist and got down when the turns should happen (sometimes a little early, sometimes right at the end of a page).
I wonder if big time professionals do that w/ their page turners (like the poor person at the Formenti recital) or if they’re just expected to site read.