“It is a violent, discordant assault on the ears!”
James stomped around Wei’s apartment, his hands pressed firmly over his ears. His heavy footfalls made the vintage LP skip on Wei’s turntable. She put out both arms, grabbing him by the shoulders to stop his pacing. She wanted to put her hands around his neck, but settled for shaking him enough to make his head wobble.
“Talk about violent,” she said once he stopped complaining and focused on her voice. “I know you don’t like classical music, but you don’t have to try to ruin my records.”
“Classical music is an oxymoron,” he shrugged away from her vise-like grip. Massaging his neck, he made a show of tiptoeing away from Wei’s stereo. “An orchestra is simply 60 performers pulling the hair from a horse’s ass across the guts of a cat.”
Wei gingerly lifted the head shell from her rare Eda Kersey recording of Sir Arnold Bax’s violin Concerto and gently removed the disc from the turntable. Touching only the edges, she slid the record into its protective paper sheath then back into its cardboard cover. Only after she returned the album to its rightful place in her music cabinet, between her recordings of Oscar Shumsky’s violin solo of Eugène Ysaÿe’s sonatas op.27 and Alfredo Campoli’s performance of Edward Elgar’s Violin Concerto in B minor, did she respond.
“Catgut is a misnomer,” Wei said, admiring her violin music collection. “The intestines of cats were never used for violin strings. Originally, they were most likely made of dried and twisted sheep or lamb intestines.”
“And, that is so much better,” James threw up his hands, making exaggerated gestures of shock and disgust.
“There are some excellent synthetic strings,” Wei said, cocking her head toward him in a way that made James feel exposed, like she was visualizing him not just naked, but flayed. “But, nothing will replicate the sound catgut produces, at least not yet.”