With Feeling


The conductor drops his baton and the music tapers away. He looks at the soloist. “Once more. With feeling.”

The soloist lowers his violin slowly. “Technically, that was perfect.”

Agreed,” the conductor says. “But there was no passion in your playing. No...”

Perhaps I'm passionless.” He gives a small shrug. Lifts his eyebrows.

The lead trombonist rolls his eyes at the trumpet section. Violinists get all the attention.


The conductor grabs his score. “You must...Look.” He gestures to the notes scattered across the page. “When I look at this rising line here, I see possibilities. I see love. I see the future.” He looks at the soloist. “What do you see?”

I see the spaces in between.”

I beg your pardon?” The conductor looks around the orchestra as if to ask the rest of them what this strange man means to say.

All those gaps between notes. That fifth there. C to G. There's too much distance.”

But the sharps and flats,” the conductor says. “They minimize that distance.”

Angry half-steps. Meaningless.” He glares at the conductor. “You want to know what I see when I see that music?”

Yes. Yes, I do.” The conductor beams.

I see restrictions and rules.”

Well, yes,” the conductor says. “Music must have rules. Every form of art must.”

They're confining.”

But it's within those rules that you must find creativity. Within the boundaries and the structure of those notes you find your freedom.”

I cannot be bound by rules.”

Weird dude,” the Eloise Jacoby mutters from behind her bassoon.

Her husband sends a text from the percussion section. “Who hired this guy?”

She turns to smile at him.

Beverly Oasis, the new piccolo player, leans back and crosses her legs. Two of the trumpet players head out for water bottles. The lead trombonist removes his mouthpiece and upends it on the stand. “Waste of time,” he mutters.

The conductor gestures. “May I?”

This is a million dollar instrument.”

I'll be careful.” The conductor takes the violin, cradles it tenderly. He lifts the bow and draws it across the string, closing his eyes and sinking into the music. He imagines his newborn daughter; imagines the expanse of the ocean. He imagines all of the tomorrows yet to be lived. He smiles.

The lead trombonist replaces his mouthpiece. Beverly Oasis uncrosses her legs. The trumpet players rush back to their seats and take up their instruments. Eloise Jacoby puts away her cell phone and sits up straight behind her bassoon.

The conductor plays the pasts and the presents and the futures; he plays the snow and the summer heat and the wind. He plays the nears and the fars; plays what he knows and what he will never understand.

And when he finally finishes, he removes the violin from beneath his chin and hands it back to the soloist.

Flawed,” the soloist says, looking around the orchestra for confirmation. And he sees Eloise Jacoby dabbing at her eyes with a crumpled tissue; sees the look of awe on the face of the lead trombonist. And as the rest of the orchestra breaks into applause, he stands and leaves the stage.

Perhaps it is time for another career.

~end~

For the Scriptic.org prompt this week, Eric Storch at Sinistral Scribbings gave me this prompt: Once more. With feeling.

I gave SAM at  My Write Side  this prompt: A diet of peanut butter and Ritz crackers.


Labels: ,

Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: With Feeling

Sunday, December 16, 2012

With Feeling


The conductor drops his baton and the music tapers away. He looks at the soloist. “Once more. With feeling.”

The soloist lowers his violin slowly. “Technically, that was perfect.”

Agreed,” the conductor says. “But there was no passion in your playing. No...”

Perhaps I'm passionless.” He gives a small shrug. Lifts his eyebrows.

The lead trombonist rolls his eyes at the trumpet section. Violinists get all the attention.


The conductor grabs his score. “You must...Look.” He gestures to the notes scattered across the page. “When I look at this rising line here, I see possibilities. I see love. I see the future.” He looks at the soloist. “What do you see?”

I see the spaces in between.”

I beg your pardon?” The conductor looks around the orchestra as if to ask the rest of them what this strange man means to say.

All those gaps between notes. That fifth there. C to G. There's too much distance.”

But the sharps and flats,” the conductor says. “They minimize that distance.”

Angry half-steps. Meaningless.” He glares at the conductor. “You want to know what I see when I see that music?”

Yes. Yes, I do.” The conductor beams.

I see restrictions and rules.”

Well, yes,” the conductor says. “Music must have rules. Every form of art must.”

They're confining.”

But it's within those rules that you must find creativity. Within the boundaries and the structure of those notes you find your freedom.”

I cannot be bound by rules.”

Weird dude,” the Eloise Jacoby mutters from behind her bassoon.

Her husband sends a text from the percussion section. “Who hired this guy?”

She turns to smile at him.

Beverly Oasis, the new piccolo player, leans back and crosses her legs. Two of the trumpet players head out for water bottles. The lead trombonist removes his mouthpiece and upends it on the stand. “Waste of time,” he mutters.

The conductor gestures. “May I?”

This is a million dollar instrument.”

I'll be careful.” The conductor takes the violin, cradles it tenderly. He lifts the bow and draws it across the string, closing his eyes and sinking into the music. He imagines his newborn daughter; imagines the expanse of the ocean. He imagines all of the tomorrows yet to be lived. He smiles.

The lead trombonist replaces his mouthpiece. Beverly Oasis uncrosses her legs. The trumpet players rush back to their seats and take up their instruments. Eloise Jacoby puts away her cell phone and sits up straight behind her bassoon.

The conductor plays the pasts and the presents and the futures; he plays the snow and the summer heat and the wind. He plays the nears and the fars; plays what he knows and what he will never understand.

And when he finally finishes, he removes the violin from beneath his chin and hands it back to the soloist.

Flawed,” the soloist says, looking around the orchestra for confirmation. And he sees Eloise Jacoby dabbing at her eyes with a crumpled tissue; sees the look of awe on the face of the lead trombonist. And as the rest of the orchestra breaks into applause, he stands and leaves the stage.

Perhaps it is time for another career.

~end~

For the Scriptic.org prompt this week, Eric Storch at Sinistral Scribbings gave me this prompt: Once more. With feeling.

I gave SAM at  My Write Side  this prompt: A diet of peanut butter and Ritz crackers.


Labels: ,

6 Comments:

At December 16, 2012 at 3:31 PM , Blogger Eric Storch said...

Data? Spock? What emotionless computer owned that million dollar violin? A new career, indeed.

I like what you did with the prompt. As a former jazz musician, I know all about feeling the music.

Well done.

 
At December 16, 2012 at 5:53 PM , Blogger Ruby Manchanda said...

This is gorgeous story. And yes, it is time for new career indeed.

 
At December 17, 2012 at 11:13 AM , Blogger Tara R. said...

I could feel the music, such feeling indeed.

 
At December 18, 2012 at 4:41 AM , Blogger j umbaugh said...

The diversity in your writing astounds me!

 
At December 19, 2012 at 4:48 PM , Blogger Leslie Collins said...

Brilliantly done!

 
At December 21, 2012 at 10:43 AM , Anonymous Supermaren said...

LOVE.

 

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