Orchestras: Together at Last

Conductor: I want to commend you for coming to all my rehearsals.

Orchestra Member: You're welcome, maestro; I'm only sorry I can't make the concert.

Apocryphal or not, this well-known two-liner has long exemplified the anarchy that is the Parisian orchestra. Symphonic life in Paris has almost always been a laughing matter for the rest of the world. Underfinanced, undertalented and underrehearsed, the city's three major, privately backed, week-to-week orchestras (Lamoureux, Colonne and Pasdeloup) slog through their Sunday afternoon old-hat concerts with all the esprit de corpse of Napoleon's army after Moscow....

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