Farewell Symphony

In high school I was pretty close to the last desk of the viola section (which takes some doing) of the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra. It was a fine way to keep me out of the pool hall, I suppose, but what’s particularly fun and absurd about it in retrospect is that our conductor was overly ambitious and had us play things we had no business playing. Once we played the Ives Camp Meeting Symphony, which is supposed to go in several directions at once but maybe not as many as we took it in. I think there was a joke we were going to do A Survivor from Warsaw or maybe I’m making that up now. I did a lot of air-bowing because I was afraid I’d manage to play my wrong notes during a rest or something. What actually was rather sweet, though, was that most people would be in the orchestra throughout high school and the last concert of the year would end with the last movement of Haydn’s Farewell Symphony. The parts thin out as the movement goes on, and it’s traditional for the musicians to pick up their instruments when their part ends and leave the stage, ideally with a little sadness, until there are two musicians left onstage, and then none. I don’t know, it was poignant in its way.

One response to “Farewell Symphony”

  1. Bryan says:

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