The Concert: Part II

The Tuning

Do you hear that? The orchestra’s tuning.
I’ve always loved this:
the sound of all these different instruments
playing different things –
completely disorder, anarchy, disharmony.
A cacophony
(ironically)
yet beautiful all the same.

It’s as if a hundred different voices are speaking at the same time,
saying the most wonderful things.

There’s the strings:
the high, smooth sounds of the violins, and the violas –
they’re a bit harder to hear, but if you listen closely
you’ll get their darker vibrations.
(I always swore i’d marry a violist; it’s nearly my
favorite instrument.)
Cellos aren’t always mournfully depressing, you know;
their high notes
sing. People tend to forget that.
And finally –
the double basses with their low, comforting murmurs.

I’ve never managed to remember exactly
what the winds and brasses are.
I can hear just the flutes and piccolos
and the clarinets and oboes;
Is that a tuba or an euphonium?
And the horns!
The French and the English – I love them both.
There are so many piano melodies
that are supposed to sound “horn-like”;
I still haven’t figured out what they mean by that.
Ah yes, the trombone
and the trumpet.
That’s all I can name, really;
but you know them all. You could tell me.

And there in the back, the
percussion. They’re always hidden.
timpani, drums, cymbals, celesta…
There’s no harp, this time.
Have you ever heard a harp, viola, and flute
trio? They sound magical. Literally.

You know, I’ve always been saddened
by how symphonies hardly ever make use of
the piano. Though I guess I’m biased;
it is my instrument
after all.

Oh, it’s starting!
The lights are dimming;
shh, wait –
you can finish that joke later –
it’s starting –
everybody’s settling down –
all dark, just that pool of light onstage –
it’s starting.

Oh no, here comes the speech.


Next Monday: Part III.