anatomy of a symphony

Mozart –  Symphony No. 41 “Jupiter,” K. 551

First Movement: Without really hearing much more than the opening notes, I look at the stage, mentally placing my opera singers on it, in their trio early in the show, wondering if my staging would work as I imagined it. Earlier today, as I was in the shower getting ready for the show, I worked out roughly how my story was going to open, and I thought about some staging for when the two men switch places. My stage in my head was really wide with calipers on both sides where the staging would take place, but this is just a big box stage. Typical of most stages my opera would play on, I think. Would it work on this type of stage? I think it would. In fact, I think it would work quite well. Maybe place my heroine up center, raised, while the two men sing on either side downstage. I suddenly become aware of the music. Pretty. Sounds like Mozart. I hope my composer writes in this style. He probably won’t, though. No one writes new Baroque style anymore. Pity. I really like it. It’s simple and pretty. Hey, what if I wrote my own music? It would be hard, but maybe not too impossible. I could puzzle through it, and who knows, maybe I know more than I think I know. I wonder if English lyrics would be pretty enough for the music. Maybe French would be better; after all, that’s where the story originated. But I don’t know French yet. Well, I could work through it with a translating program, and then give it to someone else to look over. I allow myself to daydream that I’ve written an awesome new opera, with modern staging and beautiful music, and in TWO LANGUAGES. I imagine the fuss that would be made over me, the woman from nowhere who didn’t really know music or languages yet still managed to create this stunning work, this new form that brings new popularity to Opera. I imagine with my success that I’d be in great demand, and everyone would see me as an Opera Composer, and I’d get commissions, but the problem is, I’m not a composer! I only have one opera in me! Is there such a thing as a One Hit Wonder in the opera world? I couldn’t write another, it would be too hard. Or could I, there is that Spanish story I was thinking of adapting …

oops, movement over.

Second movement: This is a quiet one. Really, really quiet. I’d hate to have to cough during this one. Uh oh, what is that sensation on my tonsil? A tickle? Oh no, don’t think about it! Dammit why did I start thinking about coughing! Don’t think about that tickle on my tonsil! No. It’s small, it will go away. That small, negligent little tickle on my tonsil. It will go away. If I just. stop. thinking. about it. It’s not going away, is it? It’s getting bigger. Because I’m thinking about it. No. No. Go away. Maybe if I focus on it, like I did that one time in yoga…I’ll focus on it and make it raise up from being a tickle on my tonsil to being a little raised dot, and then I can mentally swallow it. Focus, focus, oh god it’s huge I need to cough! Noooooooooooo! Okay, maybe just one little cough. I’ll time it, when the music gets a little louder …. 

…. it’s not getting louder is it? Wait, wait, this seems like it’s maybe just a little bit louder …


God that didn’t do anything did it! It scratched my vocal cords, but didn’t get anywhere near my tonsil. Oh god oh god oh god it tickles, I’ve got to cough … I’ve got to cough … okay, okay, maybe this is a loud spot, no?, oh well I have to just get it over with and


Phew!!!! Wow that was loud, but now it’s done at least. The tickle is gone, thank god. Gone, gone, for the rest of the concert. I hope. Whew! Hope I didn’t bother Delfs. He did stop the concert that one time for a hearing aide, I’ll bet a cough is really distracting. oh but it’s so common. At least the tickle is gone .

*Oh shit.* There it is again.

I can’t cough again I can’t cough again I can’t cough again! I have to wait for this damn movement to end! Hurry up and end, movement! I need water. Why didn’t I put my damn water bottle where I could reach it? If I try to dig it out of my coat pocket now, I’ll be sooo distracting to the people around me! I wonder if they can tell that I’ve got tears running down my cheeks, I’m trying so hard not to cough. I hope they appreciate that I’m making myself miserable rather than disturb their performance for them. Oh my god, but I think I can hold it this time, at least til the end of the movement. Oh, please end soon!!! Please, please please end soon!

THANK GOD! I’ll give it a moment, let someone else cough first … No? no one? Okay, gotta do it, but I’m doing it in the right spot this time, yay!

Damn, that was loud. Acoustics in here, wow. Amplify everything. Oh for goodness sakes, Mr. Man-In-The-Seat-Next-To-Me, I don’t have tuberculosis. It was just post-nasal drip. On my tonsil. Surely you’ve had that happen? Oh quit shifting in your seat. And guy behind me, I heard you sigh loudly! Man, I suffered so much in order to cough in the right spot, and this is how I’m treated??? Geez.

Third movement: Dammit I’m getting my water bottle, I don’t care. It will help. *GULP* Ahhh, yes it did, problem solved.


Still thinking about that cough………

Fourth movement:

…….. Still thinking about that cough………

INTERMISSION, thank god!!!
Brahms  –  Symphony No. 1


One response to “anatomy of a symphony

  1. I really wish I had gone ahead and written the Brahms review like I was going to. Now I’ve forgotten, and that’s the part of the story with the most long-lasting interest.

    *sigh* That should teach me what happens when I procrastinate …

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