Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Stravinsky at Bayreuth

From Stravinsky's Autobiography:
The very atmosphere of the theatre, its design and its setting, seemed lugubrious. It was like a crematorium, and a very old-fashioned one at that, and one expected to see the gentleman in black who had been entrusted with the task of singing the praises of the departed. The order to devote oneself to contemplation was given by a blast of trumpets. I sat humble and motionless, but at the end of a quarter of an hour I could bear no more. My limbs were numb and I had to change my position. Crack! Now I had done it! My chair had made a noise which drew down on me the furious scowls of a hundred pairs of eyes. Once more I withdrew into myself, but I could think of only one thing, and that was the end of the act which would put and end to my martyrdom. At last the intermission arrived, and I was rewarded by two sausages and a glass of beer. But hardly had I had time to light a cigarette when the trumpet blast sounded again, demanding another period of contemplation. Another act to be got through, when all my thoughts were concentrated on my cigarette, of which I had had barely a whiff. I managed to bear the second act. Then there were more sausages, more beer, another trumpet blast, another period of contemplation, another act -- finis!"
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