Friday, March 21, 2008

Maestro Has a Request

One of my favorite violinists, Hilary Hahn, recounted this event on her website some time ago. I was recently reminded of it again and thought my readers would enjoy it.

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.

2 comments:

bookfraud said...

hilary hahn, eh?

you have excellent taste.

please relay this to my joshua bell-besotted wife. i can't get her interested in peter frank zimmerman, gil shaham, perlman, zuckerman, &c. i mean, she likes all these fellows, but she carries an irrational torch for mr. b.

Language Lover said...

Well, if you've read some of my other entries, you'd know I've got a bit of a thing for JB myself. :) I'll be happy to connect you with my husband if you need some support.

But I positively adore Hilary as both a musician and a person, in part because she also understands the value of knowing many languages.