Somehow the ride home with Beta last night was enjoyable. I remember chatting, listening to her tell stories and bitch, and laughing a lot. I remember not crashing into the large trucks that surrounded us as we sped through the construction zones thirty kph above the speed limit, and I remember not scraping the cement barriers six inches from the edge of the narrow lanes.
It reminded me a bit of driving through the countryside outside Galway in a rented car ten years ago when Beta and I went over to buy her first harp, especially the high speed driving and the narrow lanes with walls, but there were no spraypainted sheep last night, nor cows, and traffic only went in one direction, and only in the direction I was used to, and the walls were, as I have mentioned, concrete and not stone, and no mad farmers on tractors.
We didn’t go straight home. We went to orchestra rehearsal first. I thought, in the beginning, that I would have to some day blog about what it’s like, because I love playing in an orchestra even though I suck. I love the excitement that is one factor of a rehearsal, especially a tutti rehearsal like last night. I suppose the wattage might be slightly lower in an amateur orchestra than in a professional one, but maybe not.
I love it even though I suck. Even though the boy with whom I share my note stand was playing better than I in places. Actually, I have no idea if he was playing better than I was, since I can’t hear individual musicians when everyone is playing, not even me. I just noticed that the kid was playing sometimes when I was trying to find my fucking place in the notes.
But instead of writing about the electricity, I must instead describe a phenomenon I witnessed last night, which I could call the Disney effect. We were playing three Lehar waltzes plus an an introduction. Three pages of notes with a bunch of repeats – repeats are one of my orchestral nemeses, especially when there are several, being an excellent opportunity to lose ones place.
Lehar was kicking my ass, mostly because of the tempo at which we were playing, and also mostly because I hadn’t learned the piece properly yet. So I was sort of scrambling, and watching the other celli to see where to start what etc, and listening to my daughter’s harp part. As she put it later, ‘all I have to do is make sure the pedals are set right, I don’t even have to pluck any strings.’ Lots of arpeggios and glissandi and shit. It’s a loud orchestral piece, and then everyone stops for a few measures while the harp does what a harp does best.
And then everyone resumed playing, and the oxygen level continued to fall in the room, and the conductor yelled at the rhythm section, and at the horns, and at the strings, and at the cowbell (Lehar is most famous for introducing the cowbell to music), and the notes fell off their little vertical bits and began to crawl around on the sheet music.
And I was all, Dude! This is just like the old Disney movie from 1949 where Mickey Mouse is playing cello in the orchestra after accidentally taking LSD and his notes turn into bedbugs and dance and he’s all OMGWTFBBQ!
I looked at the conductor, and she was Donald Duck quacking apocaplectically. And the violins were dozy sheep, and Goofy was playing bass hurhurhur and the seven dwarfs were playing percussion and Snow White was cranking the glissandi out on her harp and little birds were playing the piccolos.
They opened the windows in the break and everything normalized. Then we played Brahms. Brahms rocked.