Oh Orchestra

I love you most of all. Last night was concert night. Last night was the orchestra. Last night was Haydn and Liszt and Rodrigo. Last night was the orchestra. It’s not just orchestra music that I love; it’s the ritual, the pageantry:
The wonderful chaos of the pre-performance warm-up
That empty seat in the front row of the violin section
The houselights going down, the stage lights coming up
The silence
The entrance of the concertmaster
The applause, not applause of appreciation now but applause of respect and anticipation
The bow
The turning to the orchestra
The sound of oboe
Section by section, the woodwinds, the brass, the low strings, the violins tune
The concertmaster takes that empty seat
The return of silence
The entrance of the conductor
The orchestra stands
The applause of respect and anticipation
The bow
The handshake
The orchestra is seated
The stepping onto the podium
The now perfect silence
The moment of mediation
The up stroke of the baton
Instruments at ready, the audience filled with anticipation
The downbeat
And the music flows, that wonderful orchestra music.
And so it was last night at Pomona College.
We heard three pieces. The evening opened with Haydn’s Symphony No. 95 in C minor, one of his London symphonies. Arthur Vasek mastered the cello solos. Then came Joaquín Rodrigo’s Concierto de Atanjeus. As far as we can remember, this was the first time either of us had heard anything by Rodrigo. We want to hear more. Jack Sanders played the at times very complex guitar solo around which the three movements are constructed. Sanders is a very accomplished guitarist and in many ways this Concierto was the highlight of the evening. But it was Franz Liszt’ rousing Les Préludes that sent us out into the evening.
And then the applause and the applause, this time applause of appreciation and joy
That final handshake
The bows of justified pride and perhaps relief
Finally, houselights rise and we go forth still hungry for more.
I love the orchestra most of all.

One thought on “Oh Orchestra”

  1. I got to hear David Burgess play the Rodrigo several years back. It’s really a wonderful piece of music!

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