Eddie, a long time friend of the LSO had always the same seat at the front of the stalls. in fact Eddie was so keen he often turned up when we were on tour. New York, Florida, Paris, Berlin and even Tokyo. He like to sit near the front; he said he liked to see the whites of the players eyes. Always very elegant with his long flowing hair and bottle green velvet jacket.
On this particular morning we were rehearsing William Tell Overture. I’d invited Eddie to the rehearsal. The Barbican Concert Hall was empty except for a solitary Eddie sitting in the mid stalls. Not the usual place for him, but then its not everyday that you get a whole symphony orchestra to yourself.
The overture starts off serenely and Eddie looked suitably dreamy and away on some internal journey. After quite a while the music kicks off with the trumpets then comes the famous Lone Ranger gallop. No time here notice Eddie as its a bit busy in the fiddles. We crossed several prairies and then exactly 8 bars from the end is the final hurdle …. a bars rest. Yes nobody, nobody plays and there is silence for one bar and then comes the final 8 bars chase to the end. (It comes at 3 mins 11 secs on this video)
But for Eddie wasn’t to know. Its been long time tradition for orchestras (in rehearsals only) to stamp their feet twice in the bars rest. of course. if you’ve only ever heard a concert performance or listened to a recording you will have never heard this. Poor Eddie nearly fell out of his seat.