excerpt from 'Life on air : memoirs of a broadcaster' pp. 205-206 (338 words)

excerpt from 'Life on air : memoirs of a broadcaster' pp. 205-206 (338 words)

part of

Life on air : memoirs of a broadcaster

original language

urn:iso:std:iso:639:ed-3:eng

in pages

205-206

type

text excerpt

encoded value

The first half of the concert was not to be televised.  It was a performance of Stravinsky’s most recent work – Eight Instrumental Miniatures – and was going to be conducted by the composer’s amanuensis, Robert Craft […]

                The lights dimmed.  Craft, a tall, elegant and grave figure, entered to appropriate applause and silence fell.  The Instrumental Miniatures proved to be a work of extreme austerity.  A few isolated notes from the piccolo; a tap on a triangle; a dissonant chord from three fiddle players.  Those of us in the audience concentrated hard to follow the line of musical thought.  Suddenly a stentorian bass voice from backstage bellowed ‘Turn ‘em on, Fred’ and the entire auditorium was flooded with light blazing from banks of huge lamps that had been specially installed for the television relay.  Craft continued to conduct in the dazzling brightness as though nothing had happened.  The audience whispered to one another and shifted uneasily in their seats.  I broke out in a cascade of sweat and wished I could hide under mine.  After a few seconds and equally suddenly, the lights turned off – only to turn on again.  Craft and Instrumental Miniatures battled on.  At last the lights cut and the stage returned to the reverential half-light appropriate to the occasion.  But the intellectual grip of the Instrumental Miniatures on the audience, if they had any, was gone.

                I knew only too well what had happened.  The electricians who had been contracted from an outside firm to install the extra lighting needed for television had arrived well in advance of the beginning of the scheduled transmission.  They had found the hall in semi-darkness and totally quiet except for a few tinkles from the percussion and tootles from the woodwind.  Presumably, they had assumed that such noises were being made by one or two musicians rehearsing a few of their trickier passages in the darkened hall, and had decided to do a little rehearsing on their own account.

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excerpt from 'Life on air : memoirs of a broadcaster' pp. 205-206 (338 words)

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