June 11, 2016

Joseph Haydn

Joseph Haydn

I decided that I would wait until the piece was over and switch my phone to flight (or quartet) mode while the audience was busy with applause. And that is what I did. Ah, the relief! Now I could enjoy the next piece.

The relief did not last long. I recalled that when switching my phone to flight mode for a long flight, it seems often to switch itself on again to normal mode by the time we land, at what point exactly in the flight I do not know. Perhaps we had just flown over half an ocean in grave danger of my telephone “€œinterfering with the aircraft’s systems,”€ as they put it, leading us to a watery grave.

What, then, would prevent my telephone from turning itself on again during the rest of the concert? Nothing. I put it down beside me and covered it with the concert program and a book opened over it. At least that would muffle, if not altogether eliminate, the sound if it rang. It was a little difficult afterwards to concentrate with an undivided mind (on an early Beethoven quartet, written while Haydn, his teacher, was still alive), for the worm of doubt

Has found out thy bed

Of crimson joy:

And his dark secret love

Does thy life destroy.

That, of course, is putting it a little strongly, but then Blake was always prone to exaggeration.

The concert was over, my phone had not gone off. I felt not only relief but triumph! Tension is delightful when it ceases.

“€œLovely concert, most enjoyable,”€ said an old lady to me as I let her through the door before me.

“€œYes, very,”€ I replied. “€œI particularly enjoyed the Beethoven.”€


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