Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Bravo!

We've been Philadelphia Orchestra subscribers for the better part of twenty years. Since our son is a violist, we've always requested seats that would give us a good view of the viola section and have come to look upon those players as some sort of very distant relatives that we don't know well at all.
. . . .
Recently, though, I've been looking elsewhere. The Orchestra's tympanist is a school parent; his twin daughters are in our eleventh grade. So I know him. A little. Since he's located behind the violas, I don't feel a sense of conflict. Occasionally my eye even wanders over to the other members of the percussion section.
. . . .
There are times when, at the conclusion of a piece, some in the audience will leap to their feet hollering, "Bravo!" This has fascinated me. Not being a musician myself, I didn't understand what made one performance worthy over another of such a response. I remember thinking, "What kind of confidence must a person have to do that?"
. . . .
You can see where this is going.
. . . .
Last night, the main piece was Copland's Symphony No. Three. I'd never heard it in its entirety before, and I loved it. Well before the start of the fourth movement, I'd begun to look away from the violists and back towards the percussionists. I recognized the "Fanfare for the Common Man" as it began, having had no idea that it was a part of this larger work. As it built and swelled, I found I couldn't take my eyes off of Don and his tympani and his mallets (even noticing that some of them were different colors). I was utterly captivated and pulled into the piece.
. . . .
At its end I found myself on my feet, hollering, "Bravo!"
. . . .
It wasn't about confidence. It was about doing what I couldn't not do. Thanks, Don, for unknowingly teaching me this. Bravo!

4 comments:

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

I've never been too much of a "jump up and shout it out" type myself, but I do understand the feeling associated with being swept up and away in a moment of unbridled joy.

debijeanm said...

My grandfather and father were drummers. My brother and son are percussionists. Over the years I've come to appreciate the percussion section and the unsung heroes of any musical organization. I'm so happy to know someone else who appreciates their contribution.

Susan said...

Oh, I absolutely adore Copland! I think I have all of his works - some of them twice. I love the fanfare, but Appalachian Spring is my favorite entire work. Although there's something very spritely about Rodeo!

Bravo for you, for stepping out.

Pink Shoes said...

What a delightful experience for you! My husband is a violist, so I find it charming that you chose seats where you can see those particular instruments.