Friday, February 04, 2005

Miracle! Miracle!

I went to the symphony last night, and instead of railing against people who sit next to you and rustle their programs and breathe quite loud in fits and starts, I shall quote an interesting bit from that very same program:

The name "Miracle," by which Haydn's Symphony No. 96 has long been known, derives from an incident at a concert during the composer's celebrated visits to London in the 1790s. A contemporary account describes the following:

When Haydn appeared . . . to conduct a symphony himself, the curious audience in the parterre left their seats and crowded toward the orchesetra, the better to see the famous Haydn quite close. The seats in the middle of the floor were thus empty, and hardly were they empty when the great chandelier crashed down and broke into bits, throwing the numerous gathering into the greatest consternation. As soon . . . as those who had pressed forward could think of the danger they had luckily escaped and find words to express it, several persons uttered the stated of their feelings with cries of "Miracle! Miracle!"

It turns out that the work Haydn presented on that occasion actually was his Symphony No. 102, but the "Miracle" designation became erroneously attached to his Symphony No. 96.

Great story. I love how it raises as many questions as it answers. Namely, how did they forget what symphony they went there to see?


Chandira said...

Shock does funny things to people. :-) Ha! Got you book'mark'ed...

Sotosoroto said...

Speaking of shock, I was just about to add something on that subject.

I realized during the third and last piece of the concert that the Haydn and Mozart pieces were just to get us into a Classical frame of mind before they slammed us with the Stravinsky. It worked. That Igor dude was crazy!