If I were to play trombone in a Bruckner symphony…

I don’t play trombone, but

If I were to play trombone in a Bruckner symphony, I would…

Bathe in yak’s blood for a month

Shave with an axe

Tattoo a picture of Thor’s hammer on my forehead

 

If I were to play trombone in a Bruckner symphony, I would…

Practice starting a lonnnnnnng note REALLY fucking pianissimo, then make a lonnnnnnnnnnnnng diminuendo to nothing

And practice the silence that follows that note, and the breath that precedes it.

 

If I were to play trombone in a Bruckner symphony, I would

Practice Ride of the Valkyries on the prow of a Viking attack ship

Use the severed head of a conquered Gaul for a mute

Clean my horn with the swaddling clothes of a new-born prince

 

If I were to play trombone in a Bruckner symphony, I would…

Take a lesson from James Brown

And another lesson from James Bond

 

If I were to play trombone in a Bruckner symphony, I would…

Imagine that when I play the last quarter note of the piece, the entire room would be engulfed in white fire, then go totally black on the cutoff

Imagine the first soft chord of “that” chorale is so in tune that the entire universe hums and the mountains sink contentedly, just a little, into the earth beneath them every time my section plays it.

Find a sound made of stone, and another made of glass, and another made of water, and one more, made of blood

 

If I were to play trombone in a Bruckner symphony, I would…

Spend a month watching the loneliest man in the world, and trying to imagine my sound was his voice when at last God chose to listen to him

And I would also imagine my sound was the voice of God when he answered the loneliest man in the world with an implacable “No.”

And I would imagine my sound was the disinterested emptiness of Nature, when God had again left that man alone again

 

If I were to play trombone in a Bruckner symphony, I would… 

Shine my shoes with Donald Trump’s hairpiece

Brush my teeth with steel wool

Wear a suit that would make Armani himself weep with jealousy, and a pocket silk of royal blue

Fill my handmade alligator-skin shoes with tiny, sharp stones, so I never feel too comfortable

And, underneath, I would wear a loin cloth made from the hide of the fallen king of the Wyoming buffalo, who I would have killed with my bare hands and skinned with my embouchure

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  • http://conductorsconfidential.wordpress.com/ J.

    No excuses. Muster up a chorus of battle yaks and do it all.

  • Michael Carver

    Absolutely brilliant. You have summed up exactly what we trombonists strive for in a vividly memorable way.

  • http://zachjohnston.net Zach Johnston

    As a former trombonist and Bruckner fan, I thank you for this. Hilarious and true! Bravo maestro.

  • M.

    I need to get a Thor hammer tattoo on my forehead for the next time I play a Bruckner symphony.

  • http://beforethedownbeat.wordpress.com/ Rob Baldwin

    Bravo, Ken. This is what I try to instill at certain moments from the podium and why I get frustrated with the response of simply, “so, you want it louder or softer?” There is so much potential! So much imagination!

  • Tom M

    “Spend a month watching the loneliest man in the world, and trying to imagine my sound was his voice when at last God chose to listen to him

    And I would also imagine my sound was the voice of God when he answered the loneliest man in the world with an implacable “No.”

    And I would imagine my sound was the disinterested emptiness of Nature, when God had again left that man alone again”

    Encapsulates my feelings about the Bruckner 9th … *smile*

  • Erin

    Just LOL’d all the way through this. Thanks, I needed that! Now, where the hell is my goddamn trombone???

  • Cathy

    This is
    A: proof that classical music and metal are products of the same mentality
    B: why I learned trombone

  • http://thisisonlya.blogspot.com Robert Holmén

    I’m going to need a bigger yak.