We apologize for the delay, but there is an issue with the music


After the opening work of the Seattle Symphony concert last Saturday night, the orchestra members rearranged themselves to play the Foote, but conductor Gerard Schwarz didn't come out onto the stage. The delay grew and people started wondering what was going on.

An announcement was made over the public address system: "We apologize for the delay, but there is an issue with the music."

This only created more confusion. What does "an issue with the music" mean?

Eventually, Schwarz took the podium and explained what happened. It turned into a game of good news/bad news. "The good news is that one of the orchestra members was so dedicated that even after two concerts, he wanted to practice the piece some more. The bad news is that he left the music at home. Fortunately, he doesn't live far away, and he has his part in the Brahms memorized, so we will play the Brahms now and perform the Foote after the intermission."

And just for the record, my impressions of the concert, since you didn't ask.

  • Schwantner The Poet's Hour: Calm, soothing music from the orchestra is rudely disturbed by dissonant music from the violin soloist.
  • Brahms Symphony #3: No real surprises.
  • Foote Francesca da Rimini: I was pleasantly surprised by this piece. It was actually rather nice.
  • Prokofiev Piano Concerto #2: While technically impressive, I understand why this piece received a hostile reception at its premiere.
  • New hairstyles (and colors) for the concertmaster and principal second violin.
Comments (12)
  1. Robin Williams says:

    "Non-omputer"?

    Nom nom nom, I'm hungry now!

    [Fixed, hanks. -Raymond]
  2. Barry Leiba says:

    Obligatory Monty-Python-related comment: In an episode of "Fawlty Towers", Basil is in the hotel office listening to the Brahms 3rd symphony, when Sybil passed through.  She is not a fan of classical music.  "Honestly, Basil," she says, "I don't know how you can listen to that racket," and she walks out.

    He shouts after her, "Racket?  RACKET?  It's BRAHMS!  Brahms third racket!"

    I've long been a fan of all five Prokofiev piano concerti, each for its own reason.  The third is, of course, the most well known and most readily accessible.

  3. CodeOrDie says:

    Extremely sorry for being extremely thick, but is that supposed to be "The bad news is that he left the music SHEETS at home." by any chance?

    [Schwarz was clearly using definition 4. -Raymond]
  4. Timothy Byrd says:

    At least it was only the day the music stayed home, not the day the music died.

  5. Erwin Alva says:

    They don't keep copies?

  6. Dean Harding says:

    [Fixed, hanks. -Raymond]

    If only we could "★" raymond's responses!

  7. Marquess says:

    @Erwin Alva

    Musicians tend to add a crapload of annotations to their own copy; it's better for everyone involved that they use it.

  8. wendy says:

    that reminds me of being back at primary school. Seattle symphoney certainly know how to entertain!

  9. Robin Williams says:

    @Raymond and Dean Harding

    "[Fixed, hanks. -Raymond]

    If only we could "★" raymond's responses!"

    Ha ha yeah.  And now I'm 'hank marvin' again…

  10. Idhrendur says:

    I did that once in my community college jazz ensemble.

    Better than the time the piano player left his music behind after a gig and was unable to recover it.

  11. David Brooks says:

    The resulting concert order made much more sense than the original anyway. They used the same order on the Sunday repeat. But I remain impressed by an orchestral player who has Brahms 3 memorized.

    I simply cannot understand the Prokoviev, so even this thunderous performance left me cold.

  12. > I remain impressed by an orchestral player who has Brahms 3 memorized

    This is a "workhorse" piece which gets played a *lot* (by contrast, this post is the first I had heard of Arthur Foote.)

    Although we're not given the identity of the player, we can infer they're not (say) a violist because otherwise they could read off of their neighbour.

Comments are closed.