This story details explicit gay sex between men, teens and boys. If you find this kind of thing distasteful, or if you are underage wherever you live, then stop reading this now, and delete this file. The story is completely fictional; the author does not condone or encourage any of the acts contained herein.
By: Tim Keppler
his new role with the San Francisco Symphony, Jason has had a much greater
opportunity to interact not only with members from his own orchestra, but also
with guest performers, something that delights him. He's met (and cooked for)
Yo-Yo Ma, the French-born Chinese-American cellist; Jerry Hadley, the
American-born lyric tenor; Maria João Pires, the Portuguese pianist (and one of
his heroes) and a host of lesser luminaries. And, best of all, Kenny, the boys
and I have gotten to meet many of them as well because Jason brings them home
with him for a home-cooked meal and a bed in something other than a sterile
hotel room. This, he finds, is something touring musicians, on the road for a
large part of the year, appreciate more than almost any gift he could give
them. You can tell when he has one in his sights, because it's then that he
recurring guest has been Patrick O'Casey, an Irish pianist better-known in
Europe and parts of Asia than in
By the time he was twenty-five, he had established an
international reputation as an interpreter of Mozart, Beethoven, and Grieg.
And, when he was thirty, he met the boy of his dreams -- a 21 year-old Brit
named William Archibald. William had grown up in West Ealing, a forty-minute
tube ride from central
They met at a concert, one in which Patrick was the
featured artist for Tchaikovsky's
Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Major. William was instantly attracted, and made his
way back stage after the performance to look for Patrick. "And, when we met,"
William tells us, "it was magic. I think we both knew we'd be extraordinary
together." They've been together ever since, and in 2005, married in the
There is just one problem. William was raised an Anglican -- not a particularly devout Anglican, but he's Anglican enough that Patrick's parents have never accepted him. When they tell us this, they chuckle, but I'm nearly beside myself with laughter, and when I finally stop laughing, Patrick smiles at me and slips into one of the thickest and funniest brogues I've ever heard. "I knue exactly what ye're thenking, Mester Jensen. You're thenking that here ye have two poofters in luve, and what bothers me mum is that Welliam isn't a catholic. I suppose it ez pretty funny, but in truth, me parents never cared that I was a bum-boy. But, if I di'na go to cherch of a Sunday, I'd be beaten within an inch of me werthless loife by me fadder. Religion trumped sexuality for them."
This soliloquy has me back into tears of laughter.
"Are ye not a member of the one true cherch, Mester Jensen?" Patrick asks with a smirk, a question that, by itself, has Jason screaming with laughter.
"No," I reply. "I think we might be a little too heretical for them. I think we'd spend the rest of our lives whispering `Hail Mary's' to an empty room."
"Oh, aye?" he says with mock surprise and curiosity. "So much penance? Jason, me luve, es there somethin' ye haven't told us?"
Jason goes three shades of red, and then starts to giggle. "Sum udder toime, Patrick," he replies, trying to imitate the brogue, but mixing it with enough of his Cantonese accent to make it truly hysterical, cracking up everyone in the room.
who travels almost all the time, detests American hotels, especially chains like
the Holiday Inn, Marriott, Wyndham -- all the usual
suspects. He hates the sterility of them, the impersonality, and the cum stains on the bedspreads. He has nothing against cum
stains, he tells us, but doesn't like it when it's someone else's cum. How picky!
He's become a popular guest musician in
"Got it, Vijay," I say with a laugh. We haven't spent enough time with them recently.
How do we discover that we're kindred spirits? The first sign is inconclusive: Kevin reports hearing screams late at night from the back of the house. When Patrick and William stay with us, we typically put them in a guest bedroom at the very back of the house. It quiet back there, and very private. They even have a separate entrance that opens onto the back garden, an entrance they never use, but one that's available to them if they want to slip out quietly and take a midnight stroll. Yet, for all its solitude, it's not completely disconnected from the rest of the house, and Kevin one morning announces that he heard screams coming from the area of that spare bedroom. "You sure you weren't dreaming," Jason asks with a smile.
"No," Kevin assures him, earnestly. "I heard it. Someone was screaming...really loud."
Jason arches his eyebrows in a look of skepticism, and pours out Kevin's bowl of granola, adding slices of banana and a dollop of yogurt, mooshing it all around. "It's okay, Kev. Maybe someone stubbed his toe or something." Kevin starts to eat his breakfast, clearly thinking about that, but pretty soon forgets all about it.
The second sign is conclusive. A guy I went to college with comes to visit, bringing a fairly-recent boyfriend. I put them in that back guest room, forgetting that Patrick and William are coming to stay with us a day later. When they arrive, I give them Ian and Alejandro's old room, which is slightly less private, but just as big. I forget, though, that Cliff and Robbie still occasionally use that room for romantic trysts. They both have keys to the house, and my permission to meet up here for love-making. One night at about 10pm, when Patrick and William have gone to bed, and Kai and Kevin have been asleep for a couple of hours, I'm working in my office when I hear a commotion in the hallway. "Sorry," I hear Robbie say. "We didn't know." I step out of my office to see what's going on just as Cliff and Robbie are backing down the hall, looking really flushed. We meet at my office door.
"What's going on, guys?"
Robbie looks embarrassed, but Cliff is giggling furiously. They push past me into my office, and I follow, closing the door, looking confused.
"Umm...someone's in the bedroom," Robbie says. Oh, shit, I think. I forgot about them. Cliff and Robbie haven't been here in a week or so, and I simply forgot that there was a potential conflict for the room.
"Yeah. Sorry," I say. "We had a sudden real estate crunch. You guys can use my bedroom if you want."
"No. It's not that," Robbie says. "It's that they were..."
Cliff, who can barely contain his giggles, jumps in to finish the sentence. "The younger guy was getting spanked. He was tied to the bed, and the older guy was...umm...really spanking him...with a belt. That's what we walked in on."
"Oops," I say with a grin. "Go use my room," I say again, and they scamper off and down the hall.
The next morning, Patrick and William appear for breakfast, looking really nervous. Kenny's frying eggs. Jason is getting ready to drive Patrick, William and himself to the Symphony to rehearse pieces for this evening's performance. Patrick and William sit down at the kitchen table and glance at each other, but not at me. They're looking really sheepish.
"How'd you like your eggs?" Kenny asks them.
"Oh, any way that's convenient," Patrick replies. He's usually far more definitive about this, but you can't be definitive if you can't even look up from the table.
"Oh, for christ's sake, Patrick," I say, rolling my eyes. "Kenny, how long have we been together?"
Kenny looks over at me, surprised by the question. "Umm...I'm not sure. Forever?" He giggles. "I guess it's been nearly five years."
"And how long have Jason and I been together?"
"Umm...I guess you were with him for a little less than a year before I came, so maybe six years, or close to it."
"And in that time," I say, "how many times have I spanked the two of you?"
Kenny looks totally confused. "Umm...I've no idea. It's a big number," he says, breaking into a smile and giggling. "It's a really big number."
"And when was your last spanking?"
"Last Sunday," he responds.
"How many strokes did I give you and with what?"
He looks over at Patrick, who has the tinge of a smile playing across his lips as he stares at the tabletop, and then at William, who is flushed. "I think it was eighteen with the razor strop," he says, looking back at me, having surmised some of what's going on.
I look at Patrick, then at William, and then back to Patrick. "Okay?"
Patrick nods, chuckling to himself.
"What's going on?" Kenny asks, smiling, returning to his eggs.
Just as I'm about to explain, Robbie and Cliff walk into the kitchen looking for food. Seeing them, Kenny smiles and cracks more eggs into the frying pan.
"These witnesses," I say, trying to sound like a bailiff in a British court, and indicating to Robbie and Cliff, "caught our friends, the Mssrs. O'Casey, in flagrante dilecto, engaged in immoral acts involving ropes and a leather instrument. By the way, Robbie, how many times have I spanked you?"
Robbie blushes, but smiles. "You know my math grades have improved, Tim. I'm pulling straight A's in math now, but...umm...I can't count that high." This is a comment that draws laughter from everyone, including William, who has been looking really embarrassed.
evening it's Kenny's turn to cook, and he's making Veal à la
nods, moves to the piano, closes his eyes for a couple of seconds, and then
starts to play, starting with Prelude
No.5 in D-major, a favorite of mine, as he well knows. Patrick and I have
been talking about his coming engagement in
Jason has his back to us. He has no idea what he's just caused, and is moving on to Prelude Number 12 in G-sharp major when I tap his arm and he turns around. Seeing the state Patrick is in, he's suddenly very concerned, thinking that Patrick is in some kind of pain. "Are you all right?" he asks, flying across the room and kneeling before Patrick, looking up into his face.
It takes Patrick almost fifteen seconds to answer, but he finally looks up and replies. "No. I'm not all right. I've played that piece hundreds of times, but never like that." Looking Jason in the eyes and falling back into his brogue, an accent that he treats as comedic, but that also apparently surfaces when he forgets to suppress it, as he does now. "Jason, luve, what the fuck are you doing weth a fucking violin? You've just made luve to a piano... I don't...understand. Play me something else. D'ya know any Grieg?"
Jason nods, and moves back to the piano, and plays three of the Grieg lyric pieces he learned because I like them. He's perfected them by now. He "understands" them. Patrick sits on the edge of the couch, his elbows on his knees and his face supported by his hands. His eyes are wide and glassy. He's close to tears again. This is some of my favorite music, and I've long since become teary-eyed. Kenny at some point comes out to announce dinner, but waits until Jason finishes. "Oi don't give a damn fer food," Patrick says, enraged, looking up at Kenny when he tries to draw us into the dining room. And then he's contrite. "I'm sorry," he says, grabbing Kenny's wrists. "I'm so sorry. Yes...let's eat." And then he looks urgently at Jason. "Will you play some more after dinner?"
is wonderful, of course, and the smells of
Jason nods, and plays him a series of waltzes, starting with the Waltz in E-minor, and when he finishes, he finds Patrick on the couch just staring at him, almost petrified, still processing the music. Finally, he comes to life. "Your phasing is so different from mine. I would never have thought to play any of them the way you did. They're so different, so completely foreign to me." Looking him full in the face, now. "They're so lovely, Jason; they're so cohesive." They stare at each other for several seconds. "Why'd you choose the violin?"
"I thought I was better at it," he says, after a long moment. "And...umm...it's more portable."
Patrick begins to shake his head. "Portable? Fucking portable? Play like that, and anyone will give you a piano. It won't need to be portable. They'll deliver it to your goddamn doorstep, wherever in the world you are. Who's heard you play?"
"I...umm...played a couple of pieces at a party we threw not too long ago celebrating my promotion to Concertmaster. Some members of the orchestra were there. And I did play when I originally auditioned for the SFSO a year ago. Tilson Thomas heard it, although I was pretty nervous."
"How long'd it take them to hire you initially? How many auditions did you have to do? How many times did you have to go back?"
Jason looks confused. "I auditioned for Tilson Thomas, for Alexander Barantschik, the Concertmaster at the time, and for the strings section of the orchestra, but I did that all on the same day. I didn't have to go back. Isn't that how it usually works? They hired me as assistant Concertmaster at the end of those auditions."
"And, did they audition you on your repertory, or did they ask you to learn something new?"
"I had to learn the first violin and piano parts of a new John Adams piece."
"And you played them the same day?"
Patrick stares at Jason for a long, long moment, and then announces that he has to go to bed. He's tired. Leaving his coffee cup on the side table untouched, he gets up and makes his way down the corridor to his bedroom, shaking his head, followed closely by William. Jason is confused, but doesn't have much time to stay confused before he is tackled by a giggly Kai who is being chased by Thumper, the cat, in a last gasp before bedtime (Kai's and Thumper's).
The next day is a Saturday, and almost the instant he emerges from the bedroom, all Patrick wants to do is listen to Jason play, and play Jason does -- Beethoven, Mozart, Janáček, and some Bach. Patrick is rapt, mesmerized. Finally, at the end of a Bach partita, they move to the kitchen for coffee, and sit at the table as Patrick sips. "I don't know, Jason. You're a very good violinist, and are proving to be a very good Concertmaster. But, there are many very good violinists and Concertmasters. You are a masterful pianist whose sensitivity to the nuances of the music you learn is extraordinary. I mean that Jason, extra-ordinary. It seems to me a colossal waste that you've relegated yourself to the ranks of the fiddlers when you could be the star of every show you do. You should be touring."
"I tried that," Jason confides, "and I hated it. I missed Tim and Kenny too much, and felt disconnected from the boys, not being able to see them every day, to make their breakfast every day, not being able to tickle Kai and watch him descend into a sea of giggles. And then, I was mugged in the last city I played in, in the back alley of a high-class restaurant in a high-class neighborhood. I don't really feel comfortable in other people's cities anymore. And...umm...I don't really like to travel without Tim. I'm sort of...introverted, I guess. So is Tim, but he's more...functional than I am."
Patrick nods. "It is a difficult life. Perpetually living out of hotel rooms isn't very enjoyable. It pays very well, though, well enough that William was able to quit his accountancy position and travel with me. If I had to be on the road by myself, I'd probably have quit this life long ago. But, William makes it bearable, if not always enjoyable. The music makes it enjoyable."
"Do you know the piano part for Beethoven's first piano concerto?"
"What about the infamous Sonata Number 32?"
Jason nods again.
"Let's go hear them," Patrick says with a very jolly laugh, and they move back to the living room, to the piano.
Beethoven's Piano Sonata Number 32 in C-minor is "infamous" to some following a recording of it made in 1982 by a very young Yugoslavian pianist named Ivo Pogorelich. An absolutely brilliant technician, physically endowed with beautiful hands as big as Liszt's, the boy could do anything on the piano. What he chose to do was to alter the timing of sections of the second movement of the Sonata, effectively syncopating the Arietta, a heretical act that nearly ended his career with that first recording. I thought it was ballsy and interesting, but apparently no one else did. Jason, who has never heard that recording, sticks to the standard tempos, and produces an interpretation that is more lyrical than any I've ever heard, but never sentimental. It's lovely, and Patrick is captivated, and no less so by the Piano Concerto Number 1 in C-major. Patrick has some comments on phrasing for the Rondo that Jason finds enlightening, apparently, and integrates them as he goes back and plays it again. You can see the satisfaction etched on Patrick's face. Jason has played it beautifully.
"You're wasting your time on that fiddle, boy," he says with a snaugh.
Jason is certainly a superb pianist, but Patrick, another superb pianist, may be just a bit partisan in his evaluation of Jason's musical strengths. The point is almost moot, though, because it's in the piano repertoire that orchestras seek to draw in visiting musicians with big names to fill their concert halls. They rarely look within their own ranks because a local musician isn't as "sexy" as a Richter, or a Kissin, or a Pogorelich for that matter, musicians who aren't attached to any orchestra, but make names for themselves based on extraordinary virtuosity. If Jason is unwilling to tour, he has effectively walked away from a career as a concert pianist, and has chosen the better instrument for him in the violin. Orchestras also depend on violin virtuosi to fill their concert halls, but no orchestra can live without a Concertmaster. Jason, of course, has thought about all this, and chosen to have a life in addition to making beautiful music. Like Shostakovich, whose chamber music and piano compositions were his "personal" outlets, while his symphonies were his public expressions, Jason plays piano for his friends and family, and the violin as the public expression of his musicality.
Patrick aims to change this, or at least to give Jason a taste of
what being a concert pianist feels like, he tells me. He's scheduled to play
both the Beethoven Sonata, and the Concerto on Tuesday
evening. Given a couple of free days, he plans to take William to
Patrick and William leave us at around noon, and Jason leaves an hour later for an 8pm performance of Mahler's Der Kinder Totenlieder. I've opted us out of this because, while Mahler is one of my favorite composers, this piece isn't one of my favorites. And because I want all of us to see Patrick's performance of the Beethoven pieces, so we need some tickets to barter. Jason manages to trade off our two tickets to the Mahler for two additional tickets to the Beethoven. We're set.
Or, at least I think we're set, until Monday afternoon when I get
a call from Jason, who got a call from Tilson Thomas, who got a call from
Patrick. Patrick and William rented skates while they were in
"Are you nervous?" I ask him.
"A little, I guess, but I'll be fine. Patrick helped me smooth out my performance of the Concerto. I should be okay."
And he seems okay when he gets home. He seems a little high-strung, but Jason never really shows much when it comes to music. "What can I do to help?" I ask him after dinner as we sit in the living room, having put the boys to bed a half hour or so ago.
Jason glances at Kenny, who nods and smiles. "Umm...could just the two of us sleep together tonight?"
This isn't usual, but I'm okay with it. I look over at Kenny.
"I think Jason needs some comfort," he says with a smile. "He got it from me last time he was nervous about a performance. It's your turn. I need my beauty sleep," he says, giggling.
It's true. It's really hard to know when Jason is nervous about a concert. He's very calm, very contained. You know it when you go to bed, because he likes to latch onto just one person, to cling to him. And he likes for them to fuck him. It distracts him, he says. Kenny was the last one -- a little matter of the Brahm's Requiem. It's my turn now. I smile and lean over to kiss him. "Sure, babe. Whatever you want."
We spend the next couple of hours chatting. Kenny has just finished a game that he's sold to Sony for seven figures, a sum that adds to our coffers, making Kevin's and Kai's tuition virtually painless. And it's a really cool piece of work. He brings out his laptop to show us, and I'm just blown away, wanting to pursue the technical details of what he's done. Jason yawns. He's not into this anymore. Kenny and I giggle, and agree to chat tomorrow. Jason wants to talk about Kevin's report card from his first-grade teacher. It's stellar -- except for his habit of talking in class. "His English is so good," he exclaims, "and both his Mandarin and Cantonese are nearly grammatically perfect. His vocabulary is a little limited, but I introduced him to a friend of mine, and she doesn't think his vocabulary is any different from her son's, who's just about Kevin's age."
"Just keep at it," I respond, "or he'll lose it. We've all got to be really rigid on this one. If either of you start responding to him when he speaks English, it's all over. Unless it's an emergency, we've all got to ignore him if he isn't speaking to us in `our' language."
Finally, at around 11:00pm we're all yawning, and make our way to bed, Jason and I in my bedroom, Kenny in the bedroom they share at times like this. I sit down on the bed and wait, and Jason looks at me quizzically. "I'm waiting," I say.
"Waiting for what?"
"Jason, you're one of the most beautiful things I've ever laid eyes on. Yes, I love you for so many other things, too, but you're just so beautiful. I'm waiting for you to be naked."
Jason smiles, teary-eyed, and proceeds to take off his clothes. I've seen every day for the past six years, and yet he always manages to take my breath away. The skin, the ass, the chest, the belly. He is not muscular, not tall, and not especially toned. But he is just fucking perfect, and I feel my dick pressing against my pants the minute he's out of his clothes. And then he comes and sits on my lap and starts kissing me, pressing his nakedness against me. Breaking the kiss, he starts stripping me -- of shirt, of shoes, of pants, of underwear, and suddenly we're sitting flesh-to-flesh, warm. We're both hard, and begin kissing again, rolling on the bed, locked to each other, our legs wrapped around each other. He is on top of me, and keeps stabbing me in the perineum with his hard dick in a place I wonder if other guys have. Every time he hits it, I gasp, nearly screaming. He pinches my right nipple, and I almost cum, gasping again. (My dick is connected directly to my right nipple by a very fine piece of piano wire, and Jason knows it. All he has to do is pluck it, and I'm nearly incoherent.) Sealing his mouth to mine, he begins kissing me again, and this is really too much stimulation. I won't last long at this rate. I have to slow it down. I push him away from me. I then dive down and start licking him -- his dick, his balls, and his ass. Now he's on the defensive, trying to figure out how to keep from cumming. He pushes me away, but dives back in to kiss. Only a kiss. No rubbing. No stroking. Just a kiss. And it forces me absolutely over the edge, and I start to cum harder and faster than I've almost ever cum before, and he's right behind me. At the end of it, I find myself crying, and so does he. I love this boy more than life. He wasn't even touching my dick. It'll take us a half hour or so, but we'll be back at it before long. He wanted me to fuck him, and I haven't done that yet. I don't plan to pass up the chance.
We spend that half hour cuddling while we continue to kiss, whispering to each other. He tells me what frightens him about tomorrow's concert, and I tell him how much I love him, and how confident I am that he'll be just fine, like always. We continue kissing and are soon both hard again. I take him from the front, his legs over my shoulders, because I can't stand not to see his face, not to be able to kiss him. We kiss passionately as I enter him. He groans and wriggles with pleasure, and arranges the arch of his back carefully so that with every thrust I hit his prostate. And as the speed of my thrusts increases, he breaks our kiss, and starts to thrash his head from side to side, nearly frantic. Finally clenching his asshole around my dick, he begins to cum...screaming. I've never heard Jason scream during sex before, and it takes me so much by surprise that I start firing into him almost instantly. And then the endorphins kick in. We hug each other, Jason lying supine on top of me, and this is how we fall asleep.
And, incredibly, this is how we wake up the next morning, his head on my chest, his dick between my legs, and mine between his. We begin to kiss, and, before long, I'm fucking him again, this time from the rear and, as he cums, he screams again in ecstasy. As we head for the shower, I ask the obvious.
"You were very...umm...vocal last night, and again this morning. What's with the screams?"
He giggles. "I don't really know," he says, just the tiniest bit embarrassed. "It just felt so incredible. Not uniformly incredible, but in moments it was just more that I could endure quietly. It was sort of an...outlet...to scream. I don't know. You're asking me to be conscious about something that was completely unconscious."
I kiss him, and as we shower, I enter him again, riding this wave to another very-satisfying orgasm, for him and for me. Then we dry off, get dressed, and make our way into the kitchen. Kenny is at the stove cooking a seafood porridge. When he sees us, he giggles. "Well, that must have been nice. Kev woke up to some pretty intense...sounds, he said. And I heard a couple of shrieks this morning."
Jason laughs, and cuffs him.
"Seriously," Kenny says, "we're going to need to come clean with Kevin pretty soon. He's putting it all together. The three of us, Patrick and William, Gary and Nathan, Ian and Alejandro, even Vijay and Christophe. He's got the outline of the picture already. And he knows it doesn't really match those of his school mates. Either we're going to help him color inside the lines, or his picture runs the risk of being pretty distorted -- by others."
Good point, I think to myself. Kev is a very bright little boy, very precocious. I always knew he'd work this out. It's probably time to give him a first-grader's version of the birds and the bees, or, more precisely, the birds and the birds.
in a very good mood this morning as he prepares to leave for the city. I drop
him off at
"I know you'll be good tonight. That was never in question."
We kiss again, and he jumps out of the car and sprints to track three for his departure. I sit in the car, staring after him for probably a full minute, until a cop comes to the window and brings me out of my reverie, telling me to move. I give one more glance in the direction of track three, and start the car, making for home as a tear snakes its way down my cheek.
and I are in Lavender tuxes. We each have black ones, too, but felt like being
gay tonight. Lavender is a color that works very well for Kenny, highlighting
his shiny longish hair. Both Kenny and Jason are fond of the Japanese
hair-styles popular these days that look to me like American hairstyles from
the seventies -- shaggy and asymmetrical. And, in fact, these hairstyles look
really good on them tonight, balancing the formality of the tuxedo with a level
of informality that effectively dresses it down. Very chic. Anyone who doesn't
recognize us as a gay family out for the evening is from Mars (or from a mormon or catholic church in
our meal -- which intrigues the boys because they've never eaten at a deli
before, or had corned beef, or Russian cabbage soup, or a piece of cheese cake
so enormous that it'll feed a voracious family of four -- we make our way to
Davies. Our seats, the luck of the draw, are just three rows back from the
stage in the orchestra section. We can see everything. After a wait of perhaps
twenty minutes, during which we have to subdue the boys, the lights go down,
and the orchestra files in, to universal applause. Then Tilson Thomas comes in,
accompanied, to my utter amazement, by Patrick O'Casey. The applause is
deafening. Finally, as the applause dies down, Tilson Thomas begins to speak.
"Patrick O'Casey is a very gifted pianist, and a master at Beethoven. Unfortunately, he is also occasionally an idiot, and is not a master on roller skates." There's silence in the hall.
O'Casey decided that roller skating would be a good thing to do in
This is a huge gamble for Tilson Thomas. These concertgoers have paid to see Patrick, and aren't going to. Choosing a nobody like Jason to replace him is a potential disaster. But what choice did he have, given the circumstances? It's not an ideal debut for Jason either. He's covering a big talent in Patrick, and a big name. The boys both look a little confused after Tilson Thomas finishes his remarks, and Kenny and I have to reassure them. Then Jason takes his place at the piano, and we wait.
I've always found the Concerto in C-major to sound a little like Mozart, especially in the long orchestral exposition that begins the first movement. But once you hit the entrance of the piano, it's unmistakably Beethoven, elegant and simple, with a series of arpeggios and unorthodox modulations. The Largo is so romantic, and it's here that Jason shines, taking his time, "speaking" to the orchestra, and especially the solo clarinet, with such intimacy as to sound like a dialogue between lovers. The final movement, the Rondo, sparkles by contrast but keeps the character of lightness and transparency that is evident in the preceding two movements. It's a luscious piece, and goes off without a hitch, remarkably well played by both Jason and Tilson Thomas and the orchestra.
After the applause dies down, and the orchestra has left the stage, Jason begins the C-minor sonata. This piece has two movements, the first of which starts with a slow introduction that is both subtle and rather mysterious, and is followed by a fierce and passionate Allegro. The second movement is a set of variations on a sublimely-simple theme. These variations gradually increase in animation before reaching an interlude in which the music wanders mysteriously through remote keys before returning to C-major for the serene and spacious final section. It's a stunning composition, and Jason's rendering makes me shiver. Never have I heard a concert hall so quiet -- no coughing and no whispering. The audience is rapt, absorbing every note.
Whose adulation does Jason garner this evening? It seems to be universal. With the last note of the Sonata, there is a momentary silence, and then pandemonium as the whole audience rises in a sea of applause. Was he spectacular? Yes, in his quiet way. And maybe that's the point. He didn't seek to revolutionize these compositions, but to interpret them from his heart. He didn't seek to make a name for himself based on his interpretations, but to provide an honest rendering based on his love of the music. The music came first, and his personal interpretation second.
As the applause continues, Tilson Thomas comes out with Patrick, and both shake Jason's hand warmly. What is Tilson Thomas feeling? I wonder. The Concerto was certainly not rendered as Patrick would have done it, and the Tilson Thomas had to work to accommodate Jason's pacing. It's pretty common with guest artists not to have any rehearsal at all, but guest artists have a history. Conductors can listen to their recordings and get a sense of how they're likely to play a given piece. Jason has no history, and so Tilson Thomas had no reference point for how this was likely to go. So, the push and pull of the "dance" between guest musician and conductor was far less certain in this performance than in many others Tilson Thomas must have played. Jason did what he did, and Tilson Thomas did his best to accommodate the tempo, and did an extraordinary job. And the fact that the audience loved it, the rich-and-tone-deaf and the truly musical alike, must be gratifying to him.
Kevin is confused again. "Why does everyone always stand when Daddy finishes playing?"
I give him a look.
"Is he really, really good?" he asks.
"Really, really," I respond.
Before we leave for home, we make our way off-stage to the musician's waiting area to find Jason and congratulate him. He's chatting with Patrick when we spy him, and Kevin and Kai run and attach themselves to his legs, hugging him tight. Kenny and I each give him a very warm kiss, a kiss that attracts little attention from his fellow musicians who understand his relationship with us. Having congratulated Jason, I reach out to shake Patrick's hand in greeting, and he grasps my hand vigorously, still riding a high from Jason's performance. My trap is sprung, and he knows it almost instantly from my amused smile. With Jason -- on stage following the sonata -- he shook with his left hand, his right ostensibly sprained, but...not with me. He looks at me carefully, and smiles, drawing me into an embrace. "Don't tell Jason, will you?" he whispers. "It wouldn't do for him to know."
"Promise," I say, giving him a hug.
Published first at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Nemo-stories/