If you could make a movie...

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Loudoun Symphony : One Thread

One thing I've wanted to do was to make a movie of an orchestral performance that shows all of the "Little Dramas" that go on which the audience is (usually) oblivious to. I'm curious as to what other folks have run into during performances that would be interesting to share.

-- Mark Dalrymple (markd@aol.com), October 26, 1998


As a fer-instance. The orchestra had an outdoor performance at the dedication for a new library. I was on the stage crew and was helping to schlep chairs from inside to the performance spot outside. After carting the last load of chairs, I ran inside, picked up my bassoon, music, and folding music stand, ran outside, noticed folks were tuning up (i.e. I was late. aiieee!) and rushed to my seat. I dropped my stand on the ground, picked it up, unfolded the stand and set up my music.

Once the performance started, I noticed that low notes wouldn't play on my bassoon (which is not good news for a second bassoon player, since we tend to gronk around in the low register most of the time.) And the notes that did play in the low register were really flat.

During a couple-of-dozen-bars-of-rest in the first piece, the principal bassoon and I took a close look at my bassoon to see what was wrong. Turns out I dropped the wire stand on top of a pad on the back of the instrument, bending it open, allowing air to leak out. Needless to say, this was pretty much unfixable in the middle of a concert.

So, the principal bassoon and I ended up frantically juggling parts so that I could stay out of the low-end of the instrument (the higher notes were fine), and so the occasional exposed second bassoon line would be covered. I figured we did our job right since nobody really noticed that anything was wrong.

-- Mark Dalrymple (markd@aol.com), October 26, 1998.

And another one: We were doing Tchaikovsky's 5th symphony a couple of years ago. As folks who are familiar with that symphony know, there is an absolutely beautiful French horn solo in the beginning of the second movement. A couple of weeks prior to the performance, the tuba player (it's always a tuba player, isn't it? :-) told some of us crude, juvenille, yet pretty funny lyrics you could sing to the horn part. And then the timpani player (it's always a timpani player, isn't it? :-) expanded on those lyrics in a crude, yet ludicrous direction.

So, of course, it's time of the performance. We get to the second movement, and the horn player starts doing his bit. I made the mistake of glancing over at the tuba/timpani players, remembered their "improvements" over tchaikovsky, and came close giggle-fit on stage.

-- Mark Dalrymple (markd@aol.com), October 26, 1998.

I would love a movie like this. Once a long, long time ago there was a short-lived sit com on TV about a symphony bass player. It was drivel. I wish it had been better written, but I don't think the public would have responded well anyway.

Have you seen Felini's movie, "The Orchestra Rehearsal"? Next time you are in town, you should ask me for it. I think you would get a kick out of it.,


-- Catharine Basson (playmahler@yahoo.com), January 07, 2003.

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