I’m a fan of orchestral blogs, and there’s a bass blog that I read from time to time. A few years ago the author wrote about a harp disaster that the audience found quite funny. I found it funny too… until I thought about it a bit. Can anyone verify that this actually happened? If the pedals somehow get mis-set, does a mess like this usually follow?
Thank you SO much for posting this! I had an experience several weeks ago in a recital that left me absolutely mortified, and although on a much more basic level, the result was similar. My experience did involve a pedal.
I still can’t bring myself to post the gruesome details, but suffice to say, your post is very affirming!
Actually, I have a somewhat similar story. Years ago I played a run of Nutcracker with a local civic group. My own harp was being repaired(this was loooooong before I was repairing harps myself, or knew anything about them), and I was pinch hitting with an old but serviceable Erard that I had recently bought. When I bought it, the D pedal bar was broken off, and I had to take the pedal bar and the pedal and have a welder weld the two pieces of the pedal bar back together again.
For these performances they had pasted in the grand pas de deux which I think comes from Swan Lake or Sleeping Beauty. I don’t know those ballets as well, but I don’t think the pas de deux they did comes from Nutcracker. Anyway, I had just begun the movement and reached for the D pedal to change it. I heard a clattering on the floor and a second or two later realized that the D pedal had broken off again!
While not on the scale of the Nutcracker, I had one pedal out of place once when I started a piece – if it had just been a solo, it would have been easier to fix, the problem was I was accompaning a cantor who was convinced she was the one off-pitch, so she was sort of searching for the proper notes at the same time I was, making it doubly confusing.
What is the worst of it is, that this jerk put it in a blog for the world to read. What if he had been given a different bass to play and it had plastic strings, and a tailpin that kept sliding in? Would he want someone else to tell all about it?
One of the most treacherous solo pieces in the repertoire, pedal-wise, is Faure’s Une Chatelaine en sa Tour. Almost everybody who has ever performed it has messed it up at one time or another. Someone told me about hearing the legendary Zabeleta make a mess of it in a concert. After the performance he said to this person,”Well, the Chatelaine fell out of her tower tonight.”
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