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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Foursome. By John von Daler

                 We arrived unfashionably early even for Denmark: about 5:30 p.m. The owner and his lean, swarthy Italian waiters were in the middle of setting tables and filling bread baskets. This restaurant had embraced every cliché from empty chianti bottles used as candle-holders, to checkered tablecloths draped askew on wooden tables, and to the scent of garlic and parsley being fried in olive oil. Then we came in and set off yet another symbolic ritual.

                As I arrived with three beautiful women, the place stopped and all the eyes of all the men scanned us with a combination of open appreciation and covert envy. The big boss bowed and ushered us in pulling out chairs for the women and flipping menues onto our plates as he checked the ladies out and eyed me flippantly, Casanova on the town.
                Do not misunderstand me. This was not an evening on the town. We were musicians, a string quartet, having dinner before a concert in the jazz club around the corner.  
                For many years we all had been playing recording jobs in Copenhagen, often as part of a string quartet chosen by some arranger. It turned out that quite a few arrangers chose the same people, these three women and me. So after having played together by accident quite a few times we decided to formalize our group. We gave it a name and printed some brochures and we were in business.
                Now we were very established and sought after. So we were having an innocent evening together, a meal and a concert with young jazz musicians. Only now we were being watched, probably in the hope of a scandal or two.
                I should add that the problem did have a certain magnitude because not only were these women extremely good instrumentalists, but they were also extremely attractive, and sisters to boot. I might as well have been on a date with three actresses. Except that their playing, whatever their looks, was extremely solid and soulful. Actually, the three of them had a more masculine way of playing than I did.
                We had a giggly time at dinner and a little glass of wine with our scallopini. I think it was during my last sip of wine that I abruptly figured out how to see my own position in relation to all the stalkers surrounding us. I should have made a little speech for the waiters:
                "Hey, guys, you are wondering whether or not the four of us have had a good time together, to take a word from your menu, as far as carne is concerned. Well, you would never understand the answer. The stately, blond lady on my left has borne me through many a beautiful movement, she being the base of all our relations (cello). The pretty, little woman with the fawn eyes has held us all in place from the middle with her warm hands (viola). The beautiful, full-bodied woman on my right has been my soulmate in song, staying ever so delicately at my side wherever I choose to move in our foursome (violin). Let me put it this way: Good playing is sexy. You should try it sometime!"
                The boss winked at me on the way out. I gave him my best you don't know what you are missing look. And I meant it.

You can buy my book
 "Pieces: A Memoir in Eight Movements and a Prelude"


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