How many laughs can you get out of a Sonata?
Chamber music quartets are not known as a source of chuckles. We take ourselves seriously and that’s what made last week’s performance so entertaining.
The four of us have been meeting for years. When the pandemic lock-down arrived we migrated from the chamber to the outdoor patio and kept playing. During the first few sessions we rejoiced that we could reassembled our ensemble in the sunny, fresh air.
We’re only amateur musicians, but still strive for perfection. But when a wayward note comes amiss, a beat stumbles or any imperfection show up, it destroys our inner Wa. We perceive any sound blotch as an existential threat. Kind of like the golfer who smashes his club. Yesterday’s imperfection arrived when a neighbor’s John Deer lawnmower, with no muffler attempted to join our performance. He was out of tune, played a blaring double forte and spewed clouds of fumes.
Fumes Among the Fugues
Some of us pressed on, recognizing the limitations of playing al fresco. Alas, it was too much for our viola. She was a perfectionist, and not of the inclusive persuasion. She couldn’t bring herself to admit even one lawnmower accompanist into our Sonata. She did however, give us a solo performance worthy of Shakespearean drama when she slammed shut her instrument case and stomped out of the patio, stammering “I just can’t take it.”
She has never to be seen again.
As you might expect, when the viola disappeared, so did the lawnmower. We were left sitting speechless in deafening silence.
The unfortunate loss of our viola drama queen is but one of this year’s many Corona casualty statistic.
In retrospect, it was good for a chuckle.