The Surprise Ending

The orchestra is playing Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 45 in F-sharp minor, known as the “Farewell” Symphonyillustration of a symphony orchestra . Many in the audience are familiar with the work and as it approaches they become increasingly attentive.

Then, the first oboe and second horn take their sheet music and instruments and leave.

A moment later the bassoon quietly slips off the stage, into the wings. The audience is loving this, some of them have never seen this symphony performed, but are aware of its story.

As the second oboe and first horn lower their instrument, preparing to leave the viola in mid note slips out of his chair and crumples to the floor. Some of the musicians near him stop playing and gather round him. The conductor realizing what’s happened drops his baton and rushes to the man’s side. The entire orchestra is now quiet.

The audience, thinking this is quite a novel way to end the symphony begins applauding, a few hands at first then more and more until the entire audience is applauding wildly and rising to their feet. They do not see or hear either of two musicians, their violins on the floor at their feet, talking into their cell phones. One is calling an ambulance. The other is calling the police.