Saturday, April 09, 2005


I want to compose a symphony where the crash cymbal plays on every quarter note throughout the entire piece. Then I want to go to a performance of that and see how long it takes the audience to get up and leave. I will call it Symphony No. 1, "Aggravation."

I will also include some soft, lyrical, beautiful flute and oboe melodic lines, that would be really perfect and touching if it weren't for those constant clanging cymbals drowning them out. Critics will say that it represents the struggle of man to express himself in an ever-accelerating technological world. And the piece will end with the conductor shooting the cymbal player. He will use blanks, of course, but they will make it look convincing, with stage blood and everything. The cymbal player will look up from the floor with an anguished expression, crying out "Why? Why? It was all in the score . . . I was just doing my job, you know that . . . we rehearsed it this way . . . arrrgggh."

And the few people in the audience who have stayed this long will be horrified at first, then awed. They will give the performance a standing ovation. But the one thing they will not say is "encore!"


Brian said...

i once attended a 'new' music concert. the performance of a piece entitled 'variations on a chord', performed by the composer, a heavyset man of indeterminate european origins (i'm guessing Bu;garia) in tails. a single piano and stool on a stark stage. a single light on the performer. thirty or so minutes into the performance - variations on a single chord, i'm not sure which chord it was - there was the sound, from the back of the hall, of one of the emergency fire doors. then another. then more. the maestro then cut his performance short, and walked off the stage in a huff, never to return.

there was no encore. then again we didn't even get to the intermission.

clara* said...

i would so go to that.

Brian said...

it was at Harbourfront, actually, clara, I think at the power plant. quite a number of years ago.