by Michael Hovnanian
Michael Hovnanian formerly played bass with an orchestra located in a large midwestern city.
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I have one cherished memory of the Ravinia train. We were playing Dvorak's 7th Symphony, maybe my second year in the CSO. There is a solo for the first two violas in the slow movement, with an important flute obbligato. As luck would have it, I was sitting assistant principal, next to a grizzled veteran who had been principal literally since the Truman Administration. He was not in the habit of listening and deferring to his colleagues, and neither was the principal flute. The ensemble was somewhat short of approximate, getting worse with each ensuing run-through. I had no idea what to do, where to put my notes; I was basically in a state of dread for the three hours between rehearsal and concert. When the fateful passage came along that night, the blessed Metra train was right on schedule, obliterating our misbegotten efforts off the face of the earth.
What if, as a result of the train whistle, the conductor chose to restart the lengthy Adagio?
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