Sunday, May 15, 2011

Conducting Beethoven's 6th

What a treat: today we drove to hear the marvelous Winston-Salem Symphony perform Beethoven's 6th symphony. I'm positive no one in the room enjoyed it nearly as much as I did. When I was a little boy, for some reason, we owned an album of the lovely "Pastoral" symphony, and I listened to it (why?) over and over, until I knew every note. I would stand in my basement, put the needle to the vinyl, and begin conducting my imaginary orchestra, small flicks of the wrist for the soft moments, grand gestures for the booming crescendos.
When I saw the brilliant maestro, Robert Moody, guiding the orchestra, I could have sworn he had to have been peeping through a window in my childhood home. What a thrill it was seeing and hearing, live! for the very first time, this music I have loved for nearly five decades. I saw the violins, and the crucial woodwinds, and noticed the crowd thrilling to the music.
Music imprints something profound on the soul, resurrecting memories, pointing us toward the sublime, instilling gratitude and a swelling of hope. I wish I had words to explain the joy, the emotion - but this would be like summarizing the meaning of a poem in a single sentence, or explaining a painting. It's a symphony, one that has stood the test of time, and this one even passed the notoriously daunting kid test: a child fell in love, and remembered, and finally saw.