A Grand Entrance
Tonight I went to the symphony. It’s not something I do (or can afford to do) often, but a friend scored free tickets through her job.
It was really nice. I get bored listening to recorded classical music, but watching it live is captivating. I like to watch all the different people, wondering how long they’ve been playing, or how many black outfits they own, or how the violinists all know to move their bows in the same direction. Like, is it totally obvious once you’ve been playing for thirty years, or do they sometimes have to agree beforehand?
The best moment was in the third piece. It had four movements, the last of which featured dueling timpani. The main set of timpani were in the back, where they normally are, and a second set was put on the opposite front corner of the stage. I guess the second timpanist didn’t have anything to do during the first three movements, so he went out for a smoke break or something. The fourth movement began, and suddenly he rushed into the auditorium through a side door, still wearing his coat and scarf, vaulted up onto the stage, snatched up his mallets, and entered with a ba-da-ba-da-BUM!
He didn’t have a second to spare, or who knows, maybe he was supposed to come in twelve bars earlier. Either way, it was a dramatic entrance. After the first flurry, he tore off his coat and scarf like a timpanist superhero, switched his mallets, and finished the piece. He and the conductor shared a laugh and a handshake at the end of the show. I wonder if the words the conductor said were as jovial as they appeared.
The symphony subscribers will be talking about this one all season, I’m sure.