When the soloist stuffs up!

ImageI was recently invited to play in a local orchestra as an extra for an upcoming concert. Living where I do usually means I don’t get to play with orchestras very often, so I was quite thrilled at the opportunity.

One of the pieces we were to play was Beethoven’s Egmont Overture which is quite a rousing piece and lots of fun to play. There were a couple of other Mozart pieces and the Haydn Violin Concerto in G major. I had played this as a student so knew it quite well.

I was able to attend at least two rehearsals but not the final one. However, this did not worry me in the least. The music was very playable and I was looking forward to the concert.

Everything was running according to plan until the final movement of the Haydn concerto. It was sometime after the cadenza and before the final tutti that the soloist suddenly appeared to be out of sync with the orchestra! While continuing to play I tried to work out where we should be. I think most the violin section was doing the same thing! It became apparent that the soloist was a bar behind the orchestra. I assume he just repeated a bar – not recommended when playing with 40-50 other musicians! I’m not sure what was going through the conductors mind. He just kept on beating time!

The violins were able to get it together reasonably quickly, but unfortunately the cellos persisted and were a whole bar ahead right up to the tutti! I can only imagine what it sounded like to the audience. My husband who is a singer and not familiar with the piece said it sounded odd, but he had no idea what had happened until I told him.

We can laugh about it now, but it was a rather nerve-wracking at the time!

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