Nutcracker disaster story on bass blog…

  • Member
    Steve McLure on #149730

    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?

    Participant
    sherry-lenox on #149731

    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!

    Participant
    carl-swanson on #149732

    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!

    Participant
    andy-b on #149733

    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.

    Participant
    alishia-joubert on #149734

    I happen to know this bassist well, and his wife is a harpist and a friend of mine, so you can believe this story is true. I feel horrible for this particular harpist, knowing full well it could have been any of us.

    Participant
    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #149735

    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?

    Participant
    Jessica A on #149736

    Who among us has not screwed the pedals?

    Member
    Joanna Mell on #149737

    Amen to that sister!

    Participant
    carl-swanson on #149738

    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.”

    Participant
    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #149739

    It’s interesting that one of those performances was left intact on a live recital cd of Zabaleta’s. It’s a lesson in keeping going no matter what happens. My bugaboo has been the Pescetti Sonata.

    Participant
    Mel Sandberg on #149740

    I understand this disaster perfectly.

    Participant
    unknown-user on #149741

    Hi – I have had this happen to me several times traveling by car with my harps (both extremely stable tuning instruments)

    Participant
    janelle-lake on #149742

    This sounds like a bad joke…

    Did I ever tell you the time that I subbed for an orchestra and played the entire Nutcracker with no rehearsal on someone else’s harp?… I nailed the first act…. nailed the beginning of the second act and BANG!

    Participant
    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #149743

    I can only imagine the difficulty of playing a group of watery pieces like La Source and the Moldau if the imagery got a sympathetic response from one’s body.

    Participant
    Michael H on #149744

    Hmm… I wonder why the author decided to use an image of Joanna Newsom in his writing, maybe she was the substitute harpist!

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