The Cleveland Symphony was performing Beethovens Ninth. In the piece,
theres a long passage about 20 minutes during which the bass violinists
have nothing to do. Rather than sit around that whole time looking stupid,
some bass players decided to sneak offstage and go to the tavern next door
for a quick one.
After slamming several beers in quick succession (as bass violinists are
prone to do), one of them looked at his watch.
Hey! We need to get back! he said.
No need to panic, said a fellow bass player. I thought we
might need some extra time, so I tied the last few pages of the
conductors score together with string. Itll take him a few
minutes to get it untangled.
A few moments later they staggered back to the concert hall and took their
places in the orchestra. About this time, a member of the audience noticed
the conductor seemed a bit edgy and said as much to her companion.
Well, of course, said her companion, Dont you see?
Its the bottom of the Ninth, the score is tied, and the basses are