It was a first, a symphony! I was told high school band concerts don’t count, but a local community symphony does! They played classical French pieces the entire performance, and for these little Texas ears, it wasn’t bad!
And did you know a symphony has a huge array of fiddle players? They dress kind of funny for fiddle players, but they were good! And then there was the soft accent of woodwinds, the perfect mixture of big brass sound, all punctuated with occasional drums for just the right bon appetite (That’s French for, for…it’s French for something really good!?)
Before the symphony, I did my research. I read on the internet, so you know it’s true, that the best way to listen to a symphony is to close your eyes and let the music take you wherever it leads. I did that. Didn’t even fall asleep!! I closed my eyes and bon voyage! (French for, ‘Later, dude!’)
With eyes closed, that classical music took me straight to some of the best tunes ever, Western movie theme songs! I kid you not! I was slap dab in the middle of Lincoln County, New Mexico, sitting on a horse atop a ridge looking down on a huge valley full of cattle, barns and the prettiest ranch house you’ve ever seen!
I looked to my right (not really look because my eyes were closed), and there sitting on a horse beside me was none other than the main character in one of the best movies ever made, Chisum! John Chisum, whose stage name was John Wayne, whose birth name was Marion Morrison, made me proud! It was an honor, albeit only in my imagination, to be sitting on that ridge next to John Wayne! But next to Marion? C’est pourri! (French for, ‘That’s terrible!’)
The French music really is amazing! I just had no idea, at least until we went to the symphony and got a little bit of that there refinement stuff, t’sais? (‘ya know?’ in French)
I’m pretty sure now that every great Western ever made has classical French music in it! And with John Wayne, it just makes sense! Think about it! Chisum made a living selling beef on the hoof. And what’s the best cut of beef? Uh, huh! Filet Mignon! (French for, ‘Holy cow! This is a great steak!’, or something like that).
Imagine that! The best cut of beef is named from a French word!! Or, words?!
Now I don’t want to sound judgmental, but before the symphony, I thought the Italians had it all over the French! Not any more! The French have great classical music, not to mention French Toast, French Fries and French Kiss.
But the Italians? I don’t understand what they’re singing in the operas, and besides, they can’t even build a straight up and down building. They think the Leaning Tower of Pizza is something to be proud of! Psft, n’importe quoi! (French for, ‘Psft, whatever!’)
The second piece the symphony played was Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun. I closed my eyes again, and oh Calgon, take me away! If you can listen to that music and not envision Marion Morrison, I mean, John Wayne, in a cowboy romance, then you ain’t from around here are you, boy? It just drips with cowboy love!
Three minutes into that song with your eyes closed, you’re transported into a long, dry trip across the desert. You hear, feel, and even see like Stevie Wonder as your horse plods on through the desert. John Wayne finally has to get off his horse and lead it through the sandy desert, but they’re both so thirsty! Water, water, give me water!
He reaches for his canteen, but it’s empty. Only sand comes out. He dramatically throws the empty canteen at a rattlesnake by a cactus and then runs toward several mirages of water only to end up swimming in sand.
Marion John actually comes across a little water hole that’s real, and miraculously, he and his stud horse both find the strength to get through. So just what, what could possess a man to gather the kind of internal and external strength that only John Wayne could muster up to get them through the desert alive?
Well, there’s a little lady in a small quaint cabin with a pretty filly in her coral! John Wayne has the little lady on his mind; his horse is thinking about the filly!
When they finally ride up, what a beautiful reunion! She runs out to meet John Wayne while classical French music pours out slow and easy….sniff, sniff, I think I’m gonna cry!
It almost seems like another song all by itself!
Marion Mary in his arms, like he’s wrestling a bear. He pulls her close and says, “It’s been three long years. Do you still want me?” Then she points to the front yard and, je n’en crois pas mes yeux! (French for, ‘I can’t believe my eyes!’) She’s tied a hundred yellow ribbons around the old oak tree!
Tears are just streaming now! Where’s the Kleenex, dang it!
Bref (French for ‘all in all’, for any unsophisticated oafs who haven’t been to a symphony like moi), the symphony was truly a beautiful piece of musical art!
Classic Western scenes played over and over in my eight-track tape mind during that hour and half performance! And the fiddlers were so do-si-do good! I’m not sure about any other symphonic performances, but if you get a chance to go hear a symphony play classical French pieces, “Well, Pilgrim, ya’ neeeed to go!”