The New York Philharmonic has announced its 2015-16 season, and I am reviewing the program of offerings for broccoli.
Broccoli is my word for modern music.
Typically, broccoli is served right before intermission, or immediately after. To extend the culinary analogy, a typical concert menu might be: pretty appetizer, broccoli, succulent entree, and maybe a dessert.
Sometimes broccoli is first. And it can be nice to have it over and done with. There is usually only ten minutes of broccoli, although one time I had to listen to twenty minutes of it, which was practically vegan.
Broccoli is rarely heard last. But should you happen to notice a significant number of audience members hurrying out of the hall when there is still one piece of music to be played, it is probably because those taking their leave know that the last piece of music is broccoli. I saw this happen at Carnegie Hall; Sir Simon Rattle actually waved goodbye to the people as they scurried in front of the stage.
Sometimes the conductor talks to the audience about the broccoli first. This is like a parent telling a child how delicious broccoli is, so yummy, you're going to love it. And I'm sure there are children who do. A few.
I feel that I would be a better person if I could appreciate broccoli, so these attempts by the conductor to get me excited about it can lull me into a false sense of optimism. Surely, with such a distinguished personage singing (so to speak) the praises of broccoli, it will be delectable indeed. But the end result is always the same: broccoli throws a hand up in my face and sneers: "Stop right there! I'm not easy! You're going to have to work really hard to understand me; you're going to have to suffer a little." And I am left thinking that I've wandered into an alley filled with fighting cats, next door to an artillery range, with a subway under the ground and an airport nearby.