Despite the investment of tens of millions of dollars, Orchestra Hall remains dark for yet another New Year’s Day. The place is silent, except for performances of those few who dare to face the wrath of the union and its players by performing there during the lockout. Is there a lesson to be learned, other than the obvious one — that union and management must support each other no matter what the cost or both will go down in flames?
This situation calls to my attention the recollection of my experiences on the darkened stage, where, at one time, I was enticed and even encouraged to practice by a handful of the players. The sound soared throughout the hall, from pieces not only from the flute repertoire, but from the violin as well. Players crept onto the stage to say remarkable things, then slink into the background to whisper behind my back.
At the time I was convinced doors would open for me and die zauberflote. How could they not — didn’t everyone love Mozart? But, sadly, that was not the case — not only does it turn out the real Mozart (not the fictional “Amadeus” version) was almost universally despised — but that he was perhaps even murdered, to blot out the extra gift he had that no one told him about.
I recall wondering at the time if music was really about a battle between light and darkness. It seemed the darkness was trying to blot out the light. Perhaps those who played Mozart’s music while secretly holding him in contempt blotted out at least some of that extra gift?
But then, after this big organization ground to a halt, I began to wonder if it was possible there was a connection between that lockout and what happened to me some time ago on that stage. And I began to wonder, if light were to triumph over darkness, that is — if what people recall of the old Orchestra Hall might not be that at one time I practiced there?