Merdle and Haggard

Scene I

(Merdle at the breakfast table; enter Haggard)

Merdle: Good morning sleepy face! How’d sleep last night?

Haggard: (yawn, wipes crusties from eyes) Fantastic. I love sleeping in on Saturdays.

M: What can I getcha for breakfast? Some coffee?

H: Sounds good. Can I have some eggs, too?

M: How’d you like ‘em?

H: Sunny-side up, please. Thanks sweetheart. Oh! And I see you already got the paper.

M: Yeah. I was thinking we could do something this afternoon.

H: Yeah, what? (yawn)

M: We haven’t been to the movies in a while.

H: Oh! You know what else we haven’t done in a while? Go see the symphony.

M: Perfect. That sounds cool. We haven’t seen them in almost a year. See if there are any good concerts today; I haven’t gotten that far in the entertainment section. Would you like sausage with your eggs?

H: Do we have bacon?

M: I think so. Yes. We do.

H: I’d like the bacon, please. Ooh. Here’s a concert: “Both the Dallas and Fort Worth symphony orchestras are in show and play mode this weekend. The DSO is performing Debussy’s La Mer with projected J.W.M. Turner paintings and watercolors.” That sounds neat.

M: Totally. That’s one of my favorites. I tried to play a Debussy disc the other day at work, but it annoyed the guy in the cubicle next to me, so I put on some Kenny Chesney for him, instead. What a dork. He’s sort of religious about Chesney—he’s been to like all his concerts and stuff. Here’s your coffee.

H: Thanks.

W: What else?

H: Umm... “The FWSO is projecting Peruvian images with two works connected to music director Miguel Harth-Bedoya’s homeland.”

W: Oh, weird. So the review is about two concerts?

H: I guess so. Let’s see. “Inspired by cellist Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project, presenting contemporary music from the old Asian trading route...” Well that’s a weird thing to say. Contemporary music from an old trading route.

W: That doesn’t make any sense. Is the salt over by you?

H: No. Mr. Harth-Bedoya has his own Caminos del Inca (Inca trail) project. This week’s offerings include Mr. Harth-Bedoya’s arrangements of three 18th-century Peruvian dances and a recent work by the FWSO’s composer-in-residence Gabriela Lena Frank (American-born, but of mixed Peruvian, Chinese and Lithuanian heritage).”

W: Who wrote this article? I bet it’s Cantrell. He, for some odd reason, always highlights someone’s race, like it’s a big deal for him.

H: Yup. That’s weird.

W: Thought so.

H: Do you have any clue what Peruvian dances sound like?

W: That’s a strange question, too. Do you mind if I make my breakfast first? Just thought I’d give you a warm plate, while mine cools off.

H: That’s thoughtful, honey. Thanks. Where was I? Oh. “Sparingly scored for chamber orchestra, with toe-tapping drummings and rattlings, the dances were drawn from a collection by an 18th-century Peruvian bishop, Baltazar Martínez y Compañón.”

W: Does that answer your question? Toe-tapping drummings and rattlings.

H: No. It says here that “Accompanying images were the bishop’s own illustrations of attires, from European to fantastic native, and activities of his day.”

W: European attire is surely not Peruvian attire. What was the name of the conductor’s project?

H: Inca Trail.

W: That’s odd. Either way, it sounds like an eyesore, unless the bishop was like Rembrandt or something.

H: Ha! No kidding. Oh man! “Both music and illustrations were delightful.” Thanks Cantrell! If the music was as delightful as the pictures he described, I think the orchestra is doomed.

W: Yeah. He sure doesn’t paint a clear picture. Does He? Here. I forgot the milk for your coffee.

H: That’s okay, honey. It’s fine without it. Thanks, though. Oh here’s a bit about the composer-in-residence’s piece. “Dr. Frank’s Illapa is a 12-minute tone poem inspired by the eponymous, flute playing weather god of Andean mythology.”

W: What’s “eponymous” mean?

H: I don’t know.

W: That’s kind of pedantic, don’t you think?

H: Well, maybe we’re the idiots. It's certainly better than "orchidaceous," anyway.

W: No. I mean the “Dr.” part. Calling yourself a doctor can be misleading if you’re not a medical doctor. Besides, it’s like showing off, or something. I especially hate it when artists do that. What do you think?

H: I think I’m getting hungry.

W: Okay. Okay. I just finished making my eggs. I’m getting to yours now.

H: Just kidding, sweety. Take your time. “Soloist Jessica Warren played two more or less modern orchestral flutes...” How can flutes be more or less modern? This kind of writing is starting to bug me.

W: Well if you ever got your head out of the comics, you’d be used to it by now.

H: Touché. Where... oh. She “played two more or less modern orchestral flutes in the piece and two traditional Peruvian examples, one with a seductively hollow and husky sound.” Sounds like Cantrell has a thing for the larger ladies.

W: Ha!

H: An introductory soliloquy flows, jerks and oozes, with occasional overblowings.”

W: Sheesh.

H: “Clacks of claves are echoed by string pluckings. Slithering violin tremolos...”

W: I think he means “violin repeaties.”

H: See? This what I thought you meant by “pedantic.” He uses words like “eponymous,” then, for us lowly travel agents and software engineers, he switches to... what was it? ...drummings and rattlings, and pluckings and overblowings.

W: I see your point. Though, "overblowings" isn't too bad. Would you like Tabasco for your eggs?

H: Cholula if we got it. Well how about "clacks," then? That's no better. (reads on) Blah, blah, blah. Arresting and engaging, the piece got a wholly persuasive performance. For an encore, Ms. Warren and the orchestra played the third movement of Alberto Ginastera’s Impressiones de la Pluna.”

W: Enh.

H: "Making Rimsky-Korsakov’s Schehezade sound fresh is no small challenge. But Mr. Harth-Bedoya and his charges did just that, in a performance of considerable flair. Wind solos might have had a little more personality, but concertmaster Michael Shih spun out the violin ruminations in threads of aural gold.”

W: Christ! That’s a metaphor and a half. Here’s your eggs and bacon.

H: Thanks, babe. Here’s the paper. (eats)

W: “The orchestra’s violins played with silken unanimity, and, from loud to soft, the brasses made glorious sounds.” That’s the end.

H: Oh really? I thought it continued to go on about the Dallas Symphony on the next page. That’s it? I guess the review was only about the Fort Worth Symphony. Well that sucks. That’s like an hour-long drive from Dallas.

W: More like an hour and a half.

H: Oh well, we'd never make it in time, anyways. Wait a minute. Why was this article in the Dallas Morning Star when the concert is in Fort Worth? I mean, you really have to want to go, in order to make it to a 2PM concert one and a half hours away after sleeping in till 10:30. Either that or you have to have a teleporter.

W: Funny man. See what you miss when you only read the sports and comics? Scott Cantrell. You know he was the President of the Music Critics Association of North America for a number of years?

H: Wow. (eats more) Well, Cantrell didn’t make it sound too interesting anyway.

W: I know. I would still like to see the Debussy, though.

H: That’s in Dallas, right?

W: Yeah.

H: Okay then. (eats) Mmm. There’s no comparison between Tabasco and Cholula.


Aaron said...

"Spinning out ruminations" sounds like something I'd prefer not to read about over breakfast.

Anonymous said...

Just for the record, the decision to call her "Dr." was I'm sure, the writer's call. Gabi would not likely posit that particular title on herself.