At a certain time every year the hall is decked with large festive holiday wreaths and other trimmings appropriate to the season. Sometimes the décor and the concert program achieve a wonderful sort of dissonance, as was the case last week when we played Janacek’s Taras Bulba, based on Gogol’s bloody tale in which the protagonists all end up killed in gruesome ways.
For a number of years Pierre Boulez conducted these festive holiday weeks, and it seemed we were always doing something dark and twisted like The Miraculous Mandarin beneath the mistletoe. I thought I’d put that behind me when I stopped playing the Xmas concerts.
Photo showing the Holiday Wreath crate impeding access to the bass storage room. (Photo redacted to protect the identity of the orchestra and the deity)
View from my seat. (Note the poor attendance for these concerts…)