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.


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.