Musician Jokes‎ > ‎

Orchestra

Orchestra

When asked by the Pope (I forget which one) what the Catholic Church could do for music, Igor Stravinsky is reputed to have answered without hesitation: "Give us back castrati!"


Three violin manufactures have all done business for years on the same block in the small town of Cremona, Italy. After years of a peaceful co-existence, the Amati shop decided to put a sign in the window saying: "We make the best violins in Italy." The Guarneri shop soon followed suit, and put a sign in their window proclaiming: "We make the best violins in the world." Finally, the Stradivarius family put a sign out at their shop saying: "We make the best violins on the block."


Once there was a violinist who got a gig to play a recital at a mental institution. He played the recital brilliantly, and backstage after the concert, he got a visit from one of the institutionalized patients.

"Oh, the concert you played was just lovely. The Paganini caprice was stunning, the counterpoint in the Bach came out so clearly, and the phrasing in your Debussy was just exquisite!", said the patient.

"Why, thank you," said the musician (thinking this person seemed pretty normal for a institutionalized person). "Are you by chance a musician?"

"Oh yes, I was concertmaster of an orchestra for many years, I've played all of the major concertos: Tchaikowsky, Brahms, Mozart, all the major ones." said the patient.

"Wow, that's impressive," said the violinist. "Did you do recitals as well?"

"Oh yes, I've done all the major sonatas, Bach, Kreisler, Vieuxtemps, all of the major ones," said the patient.

"Wow! Did you ever do chamber music?" asked the violinist.

"Oh yes. Duets, trios, quintets, sextets, all the major repertoire," said the patient.

Puzzled, the violinist asked "Did you ever play string quartets?"

All of the suddenly the patient went berserk and shouted "String quartets!... String quartets!... String quartets!... "


Quite a number of years ago, the Seattle Symphony was doing Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 under the baton of Milton Katims.

Now at this point, you must understand two things:

  1. There's a quite long segment in this symphony where the basses don't have a thing to do. Not a single note for page after page.
  2. There used to be a tavern called Dez's 400, right across the street from the Seattle Opera House, rather favored by local musicians.

It had been decided that during this performance, once the bass players had played their parts in the opening of the symphony, they were to quietly lay down their instruments and leave the stage, rather than sit on thier stools looking and feeling dumb for twenty minutes. Once they got backstage, someone suggested that they trot across the street and quaff a few brews.

When they got there, a European nobleman recognized that they were musicians, and bought them several rounds of drinks. Two of the bassists passed out, and the rest of the section, not to mention the nobleman, were rather drunk. Finally, one of them looked at his watch and exclaimed, "Look at the time! We'll be late!"

The remaining bassists tried in vain to wake up their section mates, but finally those who were still conscious had to give up and run across the street to the Opera House.

While they were on their way in, the bassist who suggested this excursion in the first place said, "I think we'll still have enough time--I anticipated that something like this could happen, so I tied a string around the last pages of the score. When he gets down to there, Milton's going to have to slow the tempo way down while he waves the baton with one hand and fumbles with the string with the other."

Sure enough, when they got back to the stage they hadn't missed their entrance, but one look at their conductor's face told them they were still in serious trouble. Katims was furious! After all...

It was the bottom of the Ninth,
the basses were loaded,
the score was tied,
there were two men out,
and the Count was full.

Comments