Friday, January 12, 2007

Discs, nerves and rubbers ...

While I'm stuck at home, ever-so-patiently waiting for a disc in my neck to fall out of love with a nerve in my arm (they should never have met), I see I've arrived at the time of night when I am simultaneously missing two great concerts. One of them is a little far away ... Marc-André Hamelin in Philly playing Villa-Lobos's ecstatic nerve-pinch, the inexplicable portrait of Arthur Rubinstein that Villa-Lobos called "Rudepoêma". Hamelin's performance leaves you gasping ...


The other concert is maddeningly close. Hilary Hahn, 15 minutes away at New England Conservatory's gorgeous Jordan Hall. I noticed on the Bank of America Celebrity Series blog (one of my faves) that she has a blog of her own. Her "itty-bitty news" items brought me a smile. This one, for example:

"Maestro Has a Request"

Some moments are the stuff of comedy routines. This is a scene from a recent rehearsal, exactly as it happened. The conductor was European, the orchestra of British descent.

"Does anyone have a rubber?" the maestro asked the orchestra, pencil in hand.

A titter passed among the musicians. Realizing his double-entendre, the conductor turned crimson, ruffling his hair in an embarrassed gesture.

The principal violist located a large white eraser and handed it over. The conductor rubbed out an old pencil marking, then returned the eraser. A quip was made about sharing a rubber, getting it back used.

A minute later, the eraser was borrowed again, and again returned.

The next time an eraser was needed, the principal violist gave the conductor a small, flat, white packet with serrated edges and a distinct shape inside. A surprised chuckle escaped the orchestra. The maestro shook his head, laughed, and held it up for all to see. He hesitated – and then, in one decisive motion, pocketed the package.

The joke was complete. Rehearsal continued as usual.



Also on Hilary's site
a sweet
note about the loss of
this little friend:


Well, here at home I'll quietly applaud all of the heroic, touring musicians who brighten our lives, while they live theirs, so unimaginably full of stresses and obstacles. And, very often, loneliness. Here's hoping for lots of gasping tonight, and riotous applause. And lots and lots of encores.

1 comment:

Jack Wright said...

Dear Cathy,
Thank you for your kind words (and the plug). Ms. Hahn's sold-out house gave her a tremendous ovation, including a spontaneous round between movements at one point. In my opinion she is a distinctly warmer, more mature performer -something her terrific pianist was a big part of - clearly developing into a beautifully expressive communicator.
She played Paganini's Cantabile and the Dinicu/Heifetz Hora Staccato for encores.
Buck up, there are many more to come!