In the rehearsals at the Opera de Rhin for Rameau's Les Boreades the string sections are asked to play separately:

"Les dessus!" comes the cry from the harpsichord, and the violins chirp their way ornamentally through the melody which is shadowing the heavenly voice of Paul Agnew who, up above, is practically crooning 'Au milieu des fleurs'. Feet shuffle on the pit floor and whistles rise up from awed colleagues.

"... Et les dessous".

We, the basses and violas, proudly inhale into our bowing lungs and carve our way through the sumptuous harmonies of our 'air gracieux' like hungry spatulas through rich chocolate. Someone continues playing at the end and metamorphoses the dance seamlessly first into 'Love Story', then 'Gone With The Wind'. The violins join in. We all laugh in the knowledge that the sound track of many a twentieth century teenage dream of romance started here.

Suddenly I have the wild idea that 'dessous' means undies in French. If it does it certainly encompasses the range of feelings one can have growing up as a bass line player:

It starts with the feeling of being 'pants'; being slow and rubbish and unable to hold a tune. (This can be exacerbated growing up with a sibling who is a brilliant 'dessus' player). Then, one day the lingerie moment comes - all that sexy caressing of flattened sixths; the second skin next to the broken heart beat. The endpin comes off, one lowers oneself even further and, feeling the damp earth rise through one's feet, the ur-rhythm course through one's blood, one becomes, simply,

The Loin-Cloth.

It's the place to be. For me, at least.

My 'dessus' sibling, now a fine conductor in Bangkok, took the time to write a lovely letter for my blog a few days ago. Pants picked it up and, as is her insecure and competitive wont, she tried to cut it (him) down to size thinly disguised as editing his piece. He rightly protested and requested that she removed the ravaged item. Now Loin Cloth is apologizing and giving you:

Dessus in Bangkok - Uncut.



'Dessus In Bangkok Uncut' writes:Very touched by that, thanks.... and I'm glad that I am making my mhif 'DIBU' after all!

Eek! Thanks for making me laugh!

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