In June 1995 I was in an amateur orchestra as a viola player and we made a mini CD. One of the recordings was a piece by Pablo Casals: the Cant dell Ocells for cello and strings. The soloist who so kindly gave up his time to play with us was Cyrille Tricoire who was a member of the National Montpellier Orchestra.
It's a very beautiful piece of music; ethereal, sonorous and meditative, and making that little disc was a proud moment for me. I still have the mini disc. I left the orchestra soon afterwards to give birth to my eldest after which I had no more time, and no support to do such activities from my ex-h.
Imagine my delight, then, upon opening a newspaper produced by the Montpellier Agglomoration and seeing a concert in which M Tricoire was a soloist. He, a pianist and a violinist were to play Haydn's Piano Sonata n° 33, Mozart's Piano Sonata K333 and Mendelssohn's Trio n° 1. Lovely pieces, and in the Corum on a Sunday morning at 10.45. It was too good a chance to miss, and I decided I would try and see him afterwards to say hello.
Would you be surprised to learn that there were at least 200 people at this concert on a Sunday morning? I was. The concert hall was almost full of mostly mature, well-to-do Montpellier society. Some parents had brought along their children too. At 14€ straight price, it was a very reasonably-priced chance to listen to some beautiful music played by super professionals.
We dashed out for a coffee at the interval and although we were probably the first to make it to the bar, an elderly lady, obviously more desperate for a caffeine dose than us, called out her order for 2 coffees at 10m. She contined striding up to us and declared how moving the Mozart had been and how it always made her cry. She'd been having a lovely time too.
At the end of the concert, we hung about in true groupie form, by the interior stage door waiting for M Tricoire to come out. The other soloists were brought out by some fans, but Cyrille did not come out with them. I wondered if he had been forgotten in the quest for signed programmes, or if the soloist girls were the sought-after 'stars' while the poor cellist was just considered a cosy old accompanist. I even felt sorry for him that he did not have a bevvy of mature middle class ladies all keen for his signature on the programme.
I thus asked the pianist, Claire-Marie Le Guay if he had left already, and she replied he hadn't and that she would take us to him. We thus entered the bowels of behind stage and were taken to his dressing room. He recognised my face. Isn't that amazing? He got the instrument wrong though as he thought I played the flute, but that's okay, it was ten years ago, and a mere amateur event without professional interest for him.
Anyway, he was very charming and told me there is an amateur orchestra in Montpellier (not the same one - it was disbanded after the conductor ran off with a Polish musician he'd been having an affair with) which is always on the look-out for musicians, and he gave me the email of the conductor. Viola players are always in demand as there are so few of us. It's so nice to feel wanted...
I told him how much I had enjoyed the concert too and asked after his career. He said that, well, he was world renowned in Montpellier, in a very jolly way, but doesn't seem to mind as he is the star cello soloist of the Orchestre National de Montpellier, and teaches at the Conservatoire, so I should think he makes ends meet.
I did not ask him to sign the programme, but left him to finish putting his stuff away, and went off happy as a sandboy outside into the brisk but doue November sun.
The last time I joined an orchestra I had not played the viola for ten years. It's now been about ten years since I last played. Maybe it's time for me to take it up again. This seems to be a situation presented to me on a plate, and as such should be followed up.
I'm a great believer in Fate and doing things at the right time; not before, not after. If you don't take notice of this, things invariably go wrong because you're too early, or too late. There is a bon moment. Don't ignore it.