Symphony Hall Spoiler Alert: If you think a semi-conductor is a part time orchestra leader you might want to perform a gentle Pas de Deux off to the bunny hop.
My wife and I went to the symphony last night and it was a hoot and a holler. Now I understand that symphonic music isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but now and again a little culture is good for the soul. On this occasion, however, not everyone in attendance was playing by the rules. The usual public service announcement about silencing your cell phones went unheeded by a couple of patrons, one of whom had a “Flatt and Scruggs” ringtone. A brief spate of “Dueling Banjos” shattered the riveting hush of a particularly intricate violin solo and the smartphone owner fumbled long and hard in her purse before order was restored. The conductor glowered and the soloist was not amused.
Now I’m not sure if it was an “Elders Only” performance or if only old folks were seated in our section but there seemed to be a pretty steady stream of concert goers parading to and from the rest facilities. No need to wait for the intermission to excuse oneself, just stand up and shuffle off stage right. C’mon my fellow classical music aficionados, even at tennis matches they wait for the point to be played before making a disturbance. One tall gray haired fellow seated on my left stood up as Shubert’s Unfinished Symphony was in the midst of modulating from pianissimo to fortissimo, begged my pardon as he stumbled over my shoes and muttered that he had to pissimo. And, no, this would not be a good time scatologically speaking to allude to Beethoven’s First Movement in the Moonlight Sonata. Potty jokes have no place in polite society.
On balance it was a lovely evening filled with memorable music, shared joy and highbrow exuberance. Of course everyone applauded at the wrong time during a pause in the final piece: Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. But everyone always does. My wife and I seldom share the same opinion regarding matters of taste but when it comes to Stravinsky we wholeheartedly agree that if only Igor had been able to find a melody and stick to it the symphonic world would be a better place. Now if only we can tackle the delicate problem of geriatric incontinence I think we’re home free!