Monday, 21 May 2012

F3 Cycle 80 - 'MUSICAL CHAIRS'




It's been some while since I joined in the F3 challenge but after my last blog-post here, about musical theatre, the three words for this weeks' challenge: FRENETIC, HOBBIT and CUMMERBUND just conjured up this orchestral piece! 

As always, feel free to comment, good or bad - it's nice to know who's called in. (and what they have to say! ;-p)



MUSICAL CHAIRS


Agitated was not the word.This was the seventh interruption in as many minutes, but in the safety of the third row violins I could at least bob down behind the music stand and share a scowl with Eloise beside me.

“No. No. NO! Again. Again. This is supposed to be one of the most romantic pieces of music and you are treating it like a Saturday night fumble on the back row of the movies!”

Maestro was not amused. Maestro was decidedly determined we should repeat and repeat the same half dozen bars of Rachmaninov’s 2nd piano concerto.

“The hair!” whispered Eloise, deftly marking her outburst as an attempt to clear her throat. The accompanying movement of her eyes directed me towards the torrid figure manically tapping his baton on the score laid out before him. A sheen of sweat was breaking out on his top lip and his artistic mane of hair was scattered about his head as he feverishly raked his fingers through the mid-brown tresses. Hopping about on the podium he reminded me of a rather frenetic hobbit. Perhaps it was the hairy toes that coloured my judgement.

Among his many peculiar foibles, Maestro would always conduct rehearsals barefoot. It was one of those eccentric absurdities that added to the mystique of his character. Even during performances, he was frequently spotted wriggling his feet out of his Italian leather loafers between movements. After the first few times one grew used to it, but it always caught out new members of the orchestra. We thought of it as a sort of unwritten initiation test; to see how well they could restrain themselves from laughing out loud as Maestro counted time with his wiggling digits, resplendent in his dress tux and scarlet cummerbund.

“And again, if you please…..!”

I eased the violin into place on my shoulder and lifted the bow ready.  The smirk pulling at the corner of my mouth was becoming harder to conceal and I blessed my good fortune at being several rows back from the front.

Then I caught that odd twinkle in his eye as he cast his gaze over the assembled company. Music in our souls fused together in perfection as each instrument added layer upon layer of nuance to the main theme. Whatever his peculiarities, or his diminutive stature, with his free hand outstretched as if to draw out of us the rapture of the music we were captivated; willing supplicants to his Svengali-like hold over us.

Well, supplicant in the pursuit of musical perfection, at any rate. Many stars had burned brightly under his tutelage and guidance but I had not been sad to relinquish my place in his affections, nor with my demotion from the 1st violins. I was content with my place on the third row; it brought a useful but regular source of income, without the stress of having to constantly fight for my place in the limelight, unlike the current favourite acquiescing to his every whim and insecure in her place next to the leader.

Thinking back over the years I counted myself fortunate. Our brief dalliance at the start of his meteoric career served to remind me that I could not have lived with the highly-strung ego such a perfectionist necessitated. Or with the sight of those hairy toes each morning, I thought,  supressing a stray giggle in my throat as I leaned my chin into the rest and settled the bow onto the strings.

20 comments:

  1. Its been a while since I did F3 and I will have my own story tomorrow morning.

    Your story was great, as I was reading it the flow of the words almost had a musical cadence because it was so well written.

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    1. Thanks for the comment, BB! I'm glad you entered F3 this week, too! (great story, btw!)

      I've either been too busy or the challenge prompts haven't interested me lately - but these three words just struck a chord!
      (excuse pun - hanging head in shame ;-p)

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  2. I like your story. It is difficult to imagine anything but a small community orchestra where a conductor would have the power to demote a member of the first violins to second violins. A demotion to the last chair in the first violin section is more plausible.

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    1. Thanks for the observation!
      It's just a work of fiction - and you can tell I'm not a violinist (though we do have them in the family!)

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  3. That's a great story. I've always loved listening to stringed instruments and the violin is one of my favorites:)
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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    1. Nutschell - thanks for stopping by and commenting! My favourite stringed instrument is the double bass - nice rich, deep notes! :-)

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  4. This is why I LOVE writing and writers. I highly doubt I could come up with something this genius :-) I really liked this.

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    1. Thanks, Angela! I quite like having the challenge 'prompt' - sometimes it's hard to think of a story, but if you have three words that must be used it's easier to get inventive!

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  5. Kewl story about an orchestra. Having played in one in high school when I was but a lad of my son's age, I can readily attest to hugely inflated egos that tried to back up their marginal talent.

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    1. I can't play one, but the three other members of the household can! ;-p

      I'm more a keyboards/guitar player, myself!

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  6. That was so good Sue...sorry I have been a little absent but I am catching up on my favorites tonight ;) Your story telling is very visual and I don't have trouble imagining what the scene looks like.

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    1. Thanks, Chuck! I try to make the story 'visual' for the reader - I picture it in my mind then describe it in words.

      (works for me..!)

      Hope you enjoy your up-coming holiday, btw!

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    1. Many thanks, Damyanti! Just a little vignette - strangely no one was 'despatched' in this little tale! (I love murder mysteries!)

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  8. Sue, please stop by my site and claim your prize! You deserve it.

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  9. Excellent, solid writing and characterisation. It always amazes me how diverse stories can be given the same three words.

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  10. Lovely and whimsical, I could see the little conductor hard at work, and it brought a smile to my face.

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  11. Very nice little story, I liked the thoughts all running through her head, while she fought not to giggle at those toes. I'm in a local orchestra, but back in the trombone row, so don't have to worry whether any of our three female conductors have hobbit toes.

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  12. Sue, How did you know? That concerto is my all-time favorite. A LONG time ago, I used to play piano, and my recital favorite was always Fur Elise. I could play most of it well, but my dream has always been to play the one you referenced. Naturally, I would be able to play it ONLY in a dream. Have you ever seen the sheet music for that piece? WHOA! I have to admit seeing that in your story, I went to youtube and searched it out--Fur Elise too. How perfectly wonderful.

    Your story? I loved it. They play so beautifully, one never thinks of them as having any rivalries or issues with the conductor, but of course, those issues must go on, even in an orchestra, or especially in an orchestra, when certain slots have to be more desirable and prestigious than others. Really enjoyed this, and all the memories it brought back. Thank you for that, and for sharing your story.

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  13. Very much like this funny, spare vignette.

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