Monday, February 20, 2006

The Jupiter String Quartet Concert

I am about as far from being a musical instrument enthusiast as Proxima Centauri is from the earth. In fact banging my big toe against the leg of a piano (and almost fracturing it in the process) has been my most intimate encounter with an instrument of any kind. By a quirk of fate, a professor of a friend of mine living in Babcock (Let's call her M) gave her two tickets to a string quartet concert. Note that she wasn't any great fan of musical instruments either. Since the tickets were 27 bucks apiece and both of us are not the type to spend that kind of money on concerts, we thought we would make best use of this opportunity.

We find our way to the Theatre and to our delight our seats were front-row center stage seats. Congratulating myself for having brought my camera along I think I'm going to get some great pictures. The stage was set up and the program was about to start. After looking all around and seeing that no one had bought a camera along, I very hesitantly took a picture of the stage after turning the flash off. That was the only picture I got that night, because the very next minute an announcement was made about "photography of any kind" being prohibited.

I was initially worried about displaying my abysmal ignorance of music to M but much to my delight I found that I might even be considered a musical maestro when compared to her. The names 'Mozart' and 'Beethoven' on the agenda did not strike a chord in her head. Not even after I hinted 'Moonlight Sonata'. Chuckling in glee I relaxed while she looked at me with great respect not knowing how little I knew myself.

The artistes walk in and there is a pin-drop silence. The kind of silence that produces a dull ringing noise in your ears. It was hard to believe that a crowd of several hundred could be that silent. After a bow, the artistes take their respective seats and begin the first piece. It was a Mozart composition. After concentrating intensely for 20 minutes, I find my eyes begin to close. But I control myself. "Nirmal", I tell myself.. "this is going to be your first and last concert. Enjoy it to the fullest." All of a sudden, everyone in the audience started clapping and that was when we realized that the piece had ended. The second piece by one Frenchman "Henri Dutilleux" was a little better in that it didn't put me to sleep. But perhaps that was because I had stopped focussing on the music itself and had immersed myself in observing the movements and funny expressions made by the artistes.

Strangely, unlike Hollywood movies, this concert had an intermission. We do not know what the elite audience discussed about the performance of the artistes during the break but some excerpts of the conversation between M and me follow:

M: So.. what did you think?
Me: Hmm.. It was a different experience.. I kinda dozed off for a few minutes during the first piece though. Did you like it?
M: Oh.. yeah.. It was interesting.. Did you notice the strange facial expressions the artistes were making.
Me: Yeah.. I could hardly prevent myself from laughing. I got used to it after some time though. M(pssst): The guy in the middle was cute na..
Me(sarcastically): Oh really..
M: Yes.. And I liked the way he made way for the girl before leaving.
Me: I would do that too..
M: hehe haha.. hoo hoo..
Me (ominously): Are you saying I wouldn't?
M: Well.. let's put it this way.. I would have believed you if you hadn't let the door bang into my face on our way in.
Me (sheepishly): Oh that.. it was a genuine mistake.. I forgot you were coming in after me.
M (sarcastically): Well given the fact that I didn't go ahead of you and the fact that we came together I must have been behind you right?
Me (grumbling): Well.. I must've been thinking of something else.. Never mind.. Did you notice the girl at the extreme right?
M (suspiciously): Yes.. she was cute.. and her dress was awesome too.. what about her?
Me (softly): Did you notice how her calf muscles moved while she was playing?
M: No.. I had better things to do..
Me: Like watch the guy in the center I presume.
M (haughtily) : Exactly..

... and so the conversation went.. Not exactly a discussion of the remarkable performance we had just witnessed. The intermission was longer than we expected and we cracked jokes in Hindi about the artistes having dinner.

Soon afterwards the troupe entered and began playing the last piece of the day. It was a piece by 'Beethoven' and having read some very inspiring anecdotes about him, I resolved to listen carefully to this final composition. In fact I sshhhhhed 'M' and said very importantly "Beethoven", "Beethoven" like he was my good old friend. Luckily for me the composition was truly wonderful. Something that even amateurs could enjoy. The climax of the piece was especially breathtaking with the artistes reaching a crescendo of sorts.

All in all a memorable evening...


Sugee said...

So much for a discussion on musical concerts...
Very funny! and most importantly Indian...:)

Anonymous said...

it is "brought" and not "bought" a camera along.........!!!!! tut tut young man. i dont expect to see things like that in your blog....

Leon said...

[Sugee] Yup.. we're novices indeed..

[Anon] Oops.. You're right of course.. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.. I'd have appreciated your comment even more if you had left a name..

Leon said...

[Anon] Btw, you will notice that I got it right in the second line which proves it wasn't intentional.. ;-)..

navin said...

Hi Leon,
It's really hard to believe that you did not sleep ... I can't even watch a movie like "phantom of the opera" .. you really have guts, will power and patience.
Opening doors, why are women still bent on that?
and who is this person who got their name mispelled as "anonymous" when they were trying to point out spelling mistakes on your blog .. more to add how many errors did they make in the comment :"it is "brought" and not "bought" a camera along.........!!!!! tut tut young man. i dont expect to see things like that in your blog...."

i should be I in the comment
dont should be don't ...

“Tut, tut, child!... Everything's got a moral, if only you can find it” (Lewis Carroll)....
(Usage by :)
I did not want to piss off the anonymous guy/girl in the comment section...
To err is human ... to point out the err with an error and being noticed - priceless...:)

LovingAndLosing said...

Haha, Navin. Good observation. Just for the fun of it, I spent the last 2 minutes re-reading your comment, and to my smug satisfaction, found an error! :D Actually, there are lots of punctuation errors too, but we'll leave that for another day. You ironically misspelt misspelled! ;) Okay, I'm done pulling your leg.

As for you, Nirmal-with-the-calf-muscle-fetish, I have nothing to say to you! :p

Harish Suryanarayana said...

You lucky ass ! A classical concert ! *Sigh* and double sigh ...

Leon said...

[Navin] On hindsight... I wonder too.. :-).. Thanks for the support on that spelling issue.. I appreciate it.. :-)

[Vids] Navin meant well and you go after him.. meanie.. grr.. ;-)

Btw.. I have several other fetishes in addition to the calf-muscle fetish.. :p

[Harish] Now I know who I should take if I ever get tickets to a concert. In fact I'll probably just give them to you. I have a very strict policy about taking only members of the opposite sex with me.

silverine said...

LOL :))

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