AUGUST 2020: Recovery Edition, Part 16

AUGUST 2020: Recovery Edition, Part 16
August 28, 2020 leonard slatkin

“The music, for me, doesn’t come on a schedule. I don’t know when it’s going to come, and when it does, I want it out.”

It is a late afternoon on a Thursday, sometime in mid-September. Sam and Janet are contemplating what to do that night.

Sam: “I’m beat. Those kids at the office are driving me crazy.”

Janet: “Why don’t you take a little nap? Oh, remember, tonight is the opening of the symphony season. Where did I put the tickets?”

Sam: “Do we have to go?”

Janet: “The Stevens and Dorfmans are sitting in our box. It would be rude to snub them. Besides, Ruthie always makes you laugh.”

Sam: “Okay. I guess I can lie down for an hour now. What are they playing?”

Janet: “I have no idea. Let me check on the computer.”

(Ten minutes later)

Janet: “There’s not much information. With this virus, everything is being moved around. Oh, here it is. The performance has been cancelled.”

Sam: “Thank God. I don’t think I could have made it through a couple of hours with the mask on. Are they suggesting any alternatives?”

Janet: “It says here that we can watch a concert from last season. Tonight it is the one with Peer Gynt.

Sam: “Was that the Norwegian conductor with the wild hair? I hated that.”

Janet: “No. That was what they played. And you are right. I didn’t like it either.”

Sam: “Maybe we can just stay in and watch the game. How about inviting the Stevens and Dorfmans over? Bill loves hockey.”

Janet: “Well, we could have them, but there isn’t really time for me to put something together for dinner. And we haven’t had any guests here since March. No, it will just be another quiet evening for us.”

Sam: “I really don’t want to watch a replay. Now that I think about it, it would be a shame to give up the opening night tradition. Are there any other orchestras that might be on?”

Janet: “Let me have a look. The New York Phil has cancelled everything through December, and they don’t list what is happening tonight. A handful of orchestras seem to be presenting archival videos from the past few seasons. We could watch the Berlin Phil. And it looks like they are using the whole ensemble.”

Sam: “The Europeans are so far ahead of us.”

Janet: “I see that there are still orchestras in the States that are listing complete schedules as it was supposed to be. Full orchestra. But wait. They also say that programs ‘will be modified to comply with all coronavirus measures in force.’ But they don’t tell us what it is that they will be playing.”

Sam: “Let me see that. Hmm. Looks like a few have given up entirely. ‘All concerts have been postponed.’ Yikes. And here is one that says the Boston Symphony has laid off fifty of its staff.”

Janet: “That’s sad. I suppose we will see more of that kind of thing. Wonder if the jobs will come back after the new year?”

Sam: “That’s going to be tough. At work, we learned that we could be as efficient with fewer people. More work, but these young folks seem to have the energy to pull it off. Maybe it will be the same with the orchestras.”

Janet: “But what if all of us get used to the smaller orchestras onstage?”

Sam: “I doubt that will happen. We don’t like seeing all that space between the musicians. Besides, there would be too much of the repertoire that wouldn’t get played. On the other hand, I could live without some of the new stuff.”

Janet: “And look at all the choices we have, just by staying at home. Imagine, we could make up our own concert series, with only the pieces we like. And why does it have to be with just one orchestra and conductor? Suppose we set aside a couple hours once a week, just like we did on our regular Thursday night schedule?”

Sam: “Yes. A nice dinner, then perhaps the overture from the Chicago Symphony’s program and then the concerto from Cleveland. What should we do about intermission?”

Janet: “I have an idea for that.”

Sam: “Shame on you.”

Janet: “Just saying.”

Sam: “Finish it off with a Beethoven symphony from Vienna.”

Janet: “What if intermission lasts longer than usual?”

Sam: “Shorter symphony, I suppose.”

Janet: “I miss going to the hall. But since they won’t let anyone in, I suppose that this is the best we can do.”

Sam: “I’ll tell you. Not having to see the Stevens and Dorfmans every week won’t bother me all that much.”

Janet: “Especially at intermission now.”

Sam: “Well, I think we should figure out what to do for dinner tonight, and then we can decide if we want to watch a concert or not. Frankly, I don’t really want to stay up late. We have an audit tomorrow. Maybe just Leonore 3 and one period of the hockey match.”

Janet: “Who will clean up the dishes?”

Sam: “Didn’t you get the robot washer?”

Janet: “It’s been back ordered. Supposed to arrive over the weekend.”

Sam: “Let’s just call out for Chinese. We can eat out of the cartons.”

Janet: “And we can eat while the overture is playing.”

Sam: “Hey, that might be a great idea when audiences start going back to the hall. As long as they haven’t laid off too many of the cleaners.”

Janet: “And as long as they keep the intermissions.”