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A Guide to Tonight’s Concert: Spumoni’s Tuba Concerto in A Minor


Michael Smith


pumoni, a Bolognese nymphomaniac turned composer, is better known for her controversial duets for flute and organ which attempt to mimic the sounds of lovemaking than she is for her concertos. Although her Tuba Concerto in A Minor, which premiered last month before a soldout crowd at Hasendorf’s Smorgasbord, breaks new ground, it is nonetheless loyal to her roots in musical personification. Indeed, in Spumoni’s own words, the interplay between tuba and symphony represents a dialogue between two members of a literary guild.

The dialogue begins as the tuba boldly announces that the text for next month’s discussion will be The Idiot. The symphony, which has only achieved a third-grade reading level, suffers a panic attack then nervously oils its music stands during the remainder of this movement—the audience is encouraged to politely remain in their seats until the conductor has lowered his wand. By the commencement of the second movement, however, the symphony has gained confidence and asks whether it should purchase the Vogelofsky or the Weinberger translation. The tuba abruptly responds that Weinberger’s recent translation of Chekhov reads like the script to an episode of television’s Golden Girls. The symphony is humiliated and retreats offstage while the tuba mockingly plays a medley of Stalin’s favorite Christmas carols.

The entire orchestra is together again in the third and final movement. The symphony chides the tuba for having read the Introduction, which has clearly become a crutch for the tuba in analyzing the text. Sensing that the tuba is vulnerable on this point, the symphony accuses the tuba of having once earned a living as a literary critic. The tuba cannot deny this, and the conductor himself descends from his stand to mute the tuba with a cantaloupe. The concerto ends as all the wind instruments empty their spit valves in the tuba’s general direction.

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Issue 18


September 22, 2017

Michael Smith’s fiction has been featured or is forthcoming in The Hopper, The Delmarva Review, Drunk Monkeys, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency.

Michael Smith is a writer, photographer, and Francophile residing in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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Issue 18

This writing was originally published in Opium Magazine, and is not listed in the archives.
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