excerpt from 'Recollections of an old musician' pp. 73-75 (401 words)

excerpt from 'Recollections of an old musician' pp. 73-75 (401 words)

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Recollections of an old musician

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Jullien was performing a piece entitled Night —I cannot now give the composer’s name. At the beginning the audience was told, either orally or by printed notice, that there might be some startling effects, but no one need be afraid,—all would end well, etc. It is not a difficult task to compose an effective piece to be called Night with the assistance of a grand orchestra as the main factor, and given an opening of quiet, monotonous tones, like Felicien David’s opening to his Desert, a lullaby, a lover’s serenade, and lots of such odds and ends, which any good man with a lively imagination can invent. At the Crystal Palace music of this sort was purring along and lulling people into reposeful security —all quiet as night should ever be—when suddenly the clang of real fire-bells was heard; people jumped from their seats; there was a big commotion ; fire and flames were seen apparently bursting from the roof of the Palace; ushers were rushing about telling people to sit down, for it was a part of the performance; the big doors were swung open, and in rushed two or three fire companies with their “machines,” hose, and great fire-ladders. These ladders were raised to the roof, and the firemen, in their traditional red flannel shirts and helmets, and carrying speaking-trumpets, climbed the ladders. Real water was squirted, glass was broken, cries, orders, every sort of noise concomitant of a fire was heard,—-plus the big orchestra, which was making a fearful din, sawing and blowing fortissimo through every possible diminished seventh that could be raked up out of the musical scale.

It lasted long enough to make the most tremendously red-peppered musical sensation that mortal ears ever heard.

It must be understood that all the previously distributed notices were not sufficient to prevent some timid souls from being alarmed. The noise and confusion created almost a panic. Some were fainting, others bursting with laughter, the cooler ones enthusiastically admiring the well-arranged piece. Finally, the fire was put out, the firemen with their machines retired, and the orchestra artistically prepared the audience for a song of praise and thanksgiving which came in the shape of Old Hundred played and sung, and joined in by the well-pleased audience. It was a ne plus ultra of realistic music

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excerpt from 'Recollections of an old musician' pp. 73-75 (401 words)


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