Last Monday I attended the first in a series of five concerts in the Swannanoa Chamber Music Festival series at the Greenville Fine Arts Center. Just as last year, which was its first season at the Greenville venue, this was a feast of the finest in chamber music. This particular concert featured the Tesla String Quartet and Inessa Zaretsky, piano (and festival organizer); I especially enjoyed the hearfelt and spirited playing of the violist. And I've been thinking about violas a lot recently, for another reason.
In my perusings through blogland—and I do enjoy reading blogs, especially the ones in which artists give instructions in making things, such as a beautiful crackle weave blanket on four shafts, a handbound book with a new stitch, or a killer pizza—I have noticed that bloggers frequently add a flourish, with the word "voilà" at the end, to indicate "ta-da, we are successful".
Now, that's all well and good, and the fancy flourish of a French word is permissible. We all do it. It expresses our enthusiasm on completing a task. But I should tell you here that I was a French major, and I feel the spirits of Mme Hoffman and Professor Collignon hovering over me even now. And when I see the way people toss around versions of the word voilà, it causes me a headache, un vrai mal de tête.
Some use the wrong accent, as in voilá. Non, non, non! Others leave the accent off entirely, as in voila. That I can forgive. Some of them use an English transliteration, sidestepping the accent issue entirely, as in wah la! That rings oddly on my francophile ears. But the one that leaves me crying mon Dieu is viola! My friends, this is a viola:
Voilà: a viola!