I’m usually happy that my current phone is a Dumb-Phone, and that all it can do it send and receive phone calls – and I have a FlipCam that I use to capture video. But on the road last week from Seattle to Eugene, I discovered my FlipCam was on the fritz and my phone … well, it was just a phone.
Here’s how I described the situation to the radio announcer who played a pivotal role:
From: Deborah Henson-Conant
Sent: Monday, March 28, 2011 11:20 PM
To: Christa Wessel / On-air Host & Producer of “Played in Oregon” /www.AllClassical.org/
Subject: Bassoon and Plastic Streamer
After a performance with the Tacoma Symphony on Sunday, I drove to Portland, spent the night and headed out early this morning for a masterclass at U of O. I ended up behind a truck carrying plastic-bound crates. The plastic had come loose, was trailing in the air behind the truck, and waving, eddying like crazy.
I was listening to your program. The bassoon piece came on, and suddenly the bassoon and the plastic streamer became one. I swear, each ornament in the music was reflected in that ribbon of plastic. Breathtaking leaps. Trills. Everything. It was one of the most thrilling music-and-dance experiences of my life.
And my flipcam batteries were dead.
Someday I’ll try to re-enact it on stage. It was the performance of a lifetime.
Thank you! I’ll never forget it!
Deborah Henson-Conant / www.HipHarp.com
The worst part was having to deal with my frustration that I couldn’t catch this incredible performance and share it. I finally gave myself a good talking to: “Look,” I said, “your batteries were dead. That’s the way it was. You’ll never get that video, so you’re going to have to figure out another way to recreate the experience.”
“Aaaggh! But it was so perfect! The roadway, the sounds from the car, the bassoon on the radio, the incredible plastic streamer!!!! It’s gone forever! This incredible piece of art!!! I’m the only one who saw it! Aaaaagh!!”
That’s when I hit on the idea for a Bassoon-and-Streamer piece, a re-enactment of the roadway reverie. I can see it all now! Hand percussion and gentle pizzicato for the rain, wet finger on drumhead for the squeak of the windshield wipers, low rumbles from the basses and deep bass bissbigliando from orchestral harp for the roadway noises. The bassoon begins, in Baroque style, as I wave a streamer of white silk … aaahhhh…. we’d almost get it! Close enough.
So the next time I play with the Tacoma Symphony, expect that to show up on the program!
By the way, the piece was Mozart’s Bassoon Concerto in Bb Major, the bassoonist was Klaus Thunemann, the host Christa Wessel of AllClassical.org, the highway was Route 5, my rental car was from Enterprise and the truck with the plastic-covered boxes was a medium-sized white Toyota.*
*OK, I made that part up. I’m a girl**, of course I have no idea what kind of truck it was.
**Don’t take that amiss. It doesn’t really have anything to do with my gender. I’m just using that as a convenient excuse.
Only an artist might see dance in the random movements of a plastic streamer blowing in the wake of a truck on Route 5, somewhere in Oregon, while a basson concerto plays on the radio.
My rational engineer’s brain tells me the juxtaposition of these two sets of events is purely random. But on the other side of my brain, I can see the beauty of the delicate movements so in time with the music.
As a transportation engineer who from time to time designs highways, I think it’s wonderful to think of such a facility being the stage for an obviously wonderful performance!
Thanks for the post!