I’ve been fortunate enough that in recent years, I have been able to tie up some loose ends in my life – today was one of those days. It was coffee and then Asahi beer with some blues, and conversation in between that ranged from “God-fearing atheists” to being in areas of work which work for us.
Sometimes it’s good to be grateful for things; not particularly to people, and not necessarily to life, or some religious belief. Just aware that luck – perhaps more than one’s share of it – sometimes turns your way, and to remind you to work hard for the rest. Symbolically and in a larger context, today was a connection to a short time in my life where I lived a lot – and while I firmly don’t believe in living in the past, it was nice to reconnect all the same, in ways more representative of what’s up in the here and now.
The International Viola Code, Part 2
1. Working relationships with conductors
When a conductor chooses to ask the violas to follow the violins in a way unfitted for the viola – usually in the choice of the place of the bow or bow speed – the entire viola section is to feign shock or indignation. (For this purpose all viola teachers are to strongly promote viola performance university undergrads to take up drama classes as electives). The choice of reaction is up to the Principal Viola, communicated to the rest of the section via twitching of his ears (violists unable to do so are encouraged to experiment with hooking their spectacles to the nearest electrical socket). Among recommended choices and appropriate reference material are:
a) Indignation – refer to “With One Look”, Sunset Boulevard
b) Cute shock – “Bambi”
c) Rude shock – “First Wives Club”
d) Look of complexity – Gollum of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy
e) Wise complexity – Yoda of Star Wars
f) Huff and puff, I’ll blow the house down – Darth Vader of Star Wars
2. General Pauses
For orchestras which have music programs devoid of memorable viola parts, the viola section should play in a general pause at least once a season as a form of musical justice. To do this without getting into trouble, music scores should be Photoshopped, with a general pause removed from the part. After which the section can progress to another look of indignation or shock (refer to clause no 2).