A number of years ago, the Seattle Symphony was doing
Beethoven's Ninth under the baton of Milton Katims.
At this point, you must understand two things:
1. There's a long segment in this symphony where
the bass violins don't have a thing to do. Not a
single note for page after page.
2. There used to be a tavern called Dez's 400,
right across the street from the Seattle Opera House,
rather favored by local musicians.
It had been decided that during this performance,
after the bass players had played their parts in the
opening of the Ninth, they were to quietly lay down
their instruments and leave the stage rather than sit
on their stools looking and feeling dumb for twenty
Once they got backstage, someone suggested that they
trot across the street and quaff a few brews. After
they had downed the first couple rounds, one said,
"Shouldn't we be getting back? It'd be awfully
embarrassing if we were late."
Another, presumably the one who suggested this
excursion in the first place, replied, "Oh, I
anticipated we could use a little more time, so I tied
a string around the last pages of the conductor's
score. When he gets down to there, Milton's going to
have to slow the tempo way down while he waves the
baton with one hand and fumbles with the string with
So they had another round and finally returned to the
Opera House, a little tipsy by now. However, as they
came back on stage, one look at their conductor's face
told them they were in serious trouble. Katims was
furious! And why not? After all...
It was the bottom of the Ninth, the score was tied,
and the basses were loaded.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Beethoven's Ninth...a classy joke!
I guffawed when Jon read this to me...hope you get a chuckle out of it, too!!