A managed care company president was given a ticket for a performance of Schubert's Unfinished Symphony. Since she was unable to go, she passed the invitation to one of her managed care reviewers. The next morning, the president asked him how he enjoyed it, and instead of a few plausible observations, she was handed a memorandum which read as follows:
1. FOR A CONSIDERABLE PERIOD, THE OBOE
PLAYERS HAD NOTHING TO DO.
Their number should be reduced, and their work spread over the whole orchestra, thus avoiding peaks of inactivity.
2. ALL 12 VIOLINS WERE PLAYING IDENTICAL
This seems unnecessary duplication, and the staff of this section should be drastically cut. If a large volume of sound is really required, this could be obtained through use of an amplifier.
3. MUCH EFFORT WAS INVOLVED IN PLAYING THE
This seems excessive refinement, and it is recommended that all notes should be rounded up to the nearest eighth note. If this were done, it would be possible to use paraprofessionals instead of experienced musicians.
4. NO USEFUL PURPOSE IS SERVED BY REPEATING
THE PASSAGE THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN HANDLED BY THE STRINGS WITH HORNS.
If all such redundant passages were eliminated, the concert could be reduced from two hours to 20 minutes.
5. THIS SYMPHONY HAD TWO MOVEMENTS.
If Schubert didn't achieve his musical goals by the end of the first movement, then he should have stopped there. The second movement is unnecessary and should be cut.
In light of the above, one can only conclude that had Schubert given attention to these matters, he probably would have had time to finish his symphony.
This appeared in HEALTH LETTER, Dec. 1996, Dr. Sidney Wolf, ed. It was submitted by Michael A. Ingall, M.D., a psychiatrist and choral singer in Providence, RI.