November 19, 2001
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No Repeat!

Michael, an old school friend, now a composer, recently sent word of a memorable performance. It was part of a centennial celebration at our old school, where he and I spent a dozen years. Michael's new composition for brass ensemble was featured early in the program, and was (I hear) very well received.

Michael reports the unforgettable part came later, as part of "an eight hand version of the most bombastic piece the conductor could find -- Liszt's Rackoczi March. The other three performers are all much better pianists than I am, but I was determined to do it, so Bart xeroxed my part and I practised. We had two rehearsals and they both went well.

"Then, at the performance, I placed my xerox copies on the piano. Bart was my partner, and at first we both read from his book, to my left. Then, at the second page, I turned to my xerox copies. As they had not been placed in their proper order, I went on to page three, while my fellow pianists thought they ought to play page two first. This brought the proceedings to a grinding halt.

"We tried again, and then Philip, thinking the problem was that I had been trying to take a repeat of the first section, whispered loudly across the piano "NO REPEAT!"

"This time, however, we all began from the top of page two. Meanwhile, Bart, sitting next to me at the second piano, thought it wise to take Philp's advice, which of course no longer applied, and so as we played he leaned over and loudly whispered in my ear "NO REPEAT!" I took Bart at his word, and at the end of the section we were amid, when Bart passed along his advice, he and I happily continued on to the next part. Unfortunately, Philip and Tom, at the other piano, proceeded according to our initial plan and went back to the beginning of that section. This confusion soon made itself known to those kind enough to remain in the audience.

"I am proud to say that we then picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and, if not started all over again, at least made it finally to the end."