Sunday, June 21, 2015

Summer Solstice (Last Subscription Concert)

On Friday one of our Tae Kwon Do Masters reminded the club that we were approaching the solstice, the longest day of the year.  And that is today.  He invited us to recognize and reflect upon the power of the sun and the power of this time of year.

This morning there was a forecast of thunderstorms.  It had been raining all night.  And because I assumed I would finally have to submit to the rainy season and leave my bike at home, I decided to spend the time doing a short Tae Kwon Do practice.  And somehow during that hour the thunder stopped and the clouds cleared and there was a blue sky and the forecast had changed.

I got on my bike and went to the bike path along the river, happy to be able to share this special day with the sun.  The light is stronger, the day is the longest it will be for awhile and I got to feel it on my skin.  And because the rain had been with us all night, the path was filled with puddles and I got to join the sun in the sky.


Today was also my last Subscription concert at HPAC.  Something I hadn't really reflected upon.  it's been an incredible week, sitting next Mr.Thornton, a cellist from the Cleveland Orchestra.  For the most part I tried to listen and play with him to the best of my ability.  This seems simple, but there is no end to cultivating this skill and he is probably one of the most highly attuned orchestral players in the world.  The Cleveland Orchestra and school of training, in my mind, is exemplary in its focus on matching style, phrasing, articulation, and character.  And so when I sat next to Brian I was extremely aware of my lack of awareness and inferior musicianship.  Despite him being one of the nicest people I've met, I'm still aware he also has the highest musical standards.

At the beginning of the week I noticed how he gave sound space, how nothing was rushed or thoughtless.  Then I started to notice bow placement and speed as he carved out my awareness and taught me with his example.  And then note shapes started to emerge, balance and sound became clearer.  And from a monkey-see monkey-do mentality, I started to find the reason behind it all and the fear and insecurity started to melt away.  He's played this symphony so many times.  He knows the points of focus and also the false traps, the fortes that aren't really climaxes.  I started to understand why he chose certain characters at certain points, certain shapes and colors and how it brought the whole piece together.  And I began to love a symphony that hadn't spoken to me before, and to find a freedom and satisfaction in playing that I've rarely had in orchestra.

It was incredibly liberating and purely fun.  And at the end of it was the audience, the Sunday Subscription audience that I've come to know.  There is the foreign gentlemen and his wife that sit a few rows back, the little girl and her father in the front row.  These people that I've come to know in the last year, this would be the last time I would see them.  I looked out at them trying to remember that see of faces.


We had another rehearsal after our concert for some chamber music and it took me to the end of the day.  The sun was setting and I could see that the rains had come while I'd been busy doing other things.  But in the purples and blues receding behind the mountains was a clear, crisp crescent moon and a friendly star, trailing the sun in recognition of its day of honor.  The bike path was refueled and overflowing with the dimming sky.

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