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Eye Contact by Gerald Sindell

If the only way you listen to music is a streaming service, then you might prefer to skip this chapter, because it’s about some music that mostly makes sense if you’re actually there, in person, to see and hear it. We’re talking about concertos — music written for performing geniuses to show off in the middle of a symphony orchestra concert.

A typical classical orchestra concert, whether summer pops in an outdoor venue, or in a concert hall during the regular season, usually will start with something short and light to let the audience settle down and clear their ears. These little appetizers (your hound will understand the concept if you offer them a crackly pig’s ear) help the audience members let their long-term attention spans take over.

And then, not always but often, comes the middle of the concert sandwich — a person who has flown in for a few days to play just one piece and then disappear on their globe-hopping journey, not to be seen for another year or more. This is the star of the evening. Their piano is in front of the orchestra, even in front of the conductor. If they’re playing a violin or cello, they’re still right at the front of everybody else, but they’re also to the side of the conductor so the two can raise eyebrows at each other from time to time. Try this exercise with your hound a few times and see how well it works to get you in sync.

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