Friday, January 13, 2006

an audition scenario

Listening to the Supreme Court confirmation hearings this week, I've been wondering how it might sound if orchestra auditions were run in a similar fashion:

Scene: A nondescript rehearsal room, a large screen placed in the center. Behind the screen sit several committee members, out of view. Enter audition candidate and proctor; audition candidate holds a double bass, proctor places a stool on the floor and announces -

Proctor: This is audition candidate number 73, who will play the Bourrees from Bach's 3rd Suite.

Committee member #1: Fine, please feel free to tune and play a few notes, and proceed when you are ready.

...sounds of Bach being played for the next couple of minutes...

CM #1: Thank you, now please continue to the excerpt from Beethoven's 5th Symphony.

Audition candidate whispers to proctor. They confer for a few moments.

P: Audition candidate #73 prefers not to play that excerpt, sir, since should you choose to hire the candidate, this piece may very likely come before the bass section during the candidate's tenure there.

CM #1: Excuse me, you're saying that #73 won't play Beethoven 5, because we might play the piece in the orchestra?

P: That's correct - the candidate feels that playing the Scherzo and Trio for you now may prejudice the candidate's future performances of Beethoven 5.

CM #1: That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. If we can't hear a piece the orchestra is going to play, what can we hear? A C major scale maybe?

P: The candidate would prefer to not play that scale either, since C major scales might arise in the bass section fairly frequently.

CM #1: But #73 just played us the 3rd Suite Bourrees - there must have been some scales there?

P: Actually, that was just a recording of Edgar Meyer playing the Bach. The candidate does admire Edgar Meyer's performance greatly, though.

Committee member #2: I would just like to say that I share candidate #73's admiration for Edgar, and I fully support the decision not to play any of those excerpts. The purpose of this audition is to find out just what kind of orchestra member you'll be, not to create some kind of litmus test for how you play a particular excerpt. I for one feel you'll make a great addition to our bass section, and I support your nomination wholeheartedly. May I ask the candidate to please share an amusing story about growing up in my native state of New Jersey, affirming the importance of hard work and fair play?

P: The candidate would prefer not to.

CM #1: I have a tape recording I have just discovered and would like to play for the committee. This is candidate #73's seating audition at Grover Cleveland Middle School -

...sounds of a raucously awful performance of Capuzzi Concerto...

CM #2: This is clearly uncalled for - we can't base our decision on a scratchy cassette made 15 years ago! I have brought in the piano accompanist from #73's undergraduate senior recital - maybe she can give us some testimony on the candidate's qualities?

Piano accompanist: Yes, sir. Audition candidate #73 was always well-prepared, highly capable, and all the checks cleared. I recommend #73 highly.

Committee member #3: That's all very well, but the bass player we would be replacing is Bob Ratkiss, our only German bow player and a key voice in deciding where the section would go out for drinks after concerts. I've brought in a former stand partner of #73 - is this candidate really up to the job?

Former stand partner: Not only does #73 not play German bow, often #73 would forget to bring a bow entirely, and then have to borrow mine. #73 also frequently forgot to bring a pencil, rosin, the music, an instrument, or any cash, forcing me to pay for all of #73's drinks. I strongly oppose the hiring of this candidate.

Committee member #4
: Thanks for that, former stand partner. By the way, weren't you candidate #69?

FSP: No comment.


Lydia Si-Ngaw Lui said...


Joe said...

I had to send this out to some other bassists. Very funny!