recent then when I intended to write this blog!), our Quality of Life Commitee procured us
students a number of tickets to the Civic Orchestra. Thank you QLC! On the bill, Mahler’s 7th.
My comrades and I arrived early; our fearless (alternately read as shameless)
leader cut swaths through casual concert goers to find us the best possible
seating. To his credit they were fantastic, dead center on the terrace just
above and behind the orchestra. Dutiful documenter of life and times that I am,
I attempted to take a few photos. This met with the extreme disapproval of an
usher, and the utter mortification of our fearless leader. Alas, all I came
away with were the meager shots offered here. Never mind, the music soon began!
I have been to many musical events, but nothing quite like this. I freely admit that I’m not entirely comfortable with Mahler. I find his sudden shifts and turns a little schizophrenic, and the manner in which he layers bombastic major passages over eerie minor bits can be disconcerting. It’s as if he wants to tell us something dark and tragic and profound and delightful all in the same breath, like an over-eager child trying to recount the day’s terrors and triumphs in one confused monologue. But in a way this was the perfect music to watch at such close range. Our seats allowed us to hear each section in proximity to the others, opening up the sense of space in the music, and adding quite a bit of dimension to the different instrumental voices as they bounced back and forth. They’d join together in emotional swells, then scatter apart again to dance around each other in exotic harmonies (and the occasional dissonances).
What a wonderful picture of the world this was! A brief moment in the fourth captured it perfectly. It only lasted a few seconds: the first violinist broke out solo, rising above the rest of the orchestra in an unrestrained, ecstatic outburst, and then fell back in with the rest of the orchestra. Here was a unity that never engulfed the individual, but allowed it its own path. And still, this path was a part of the whole. Sublime.
After the concert
we went for dessert, only to find that all the likely spots in the loop close
early. You take your joys where you can get them. Ah, a haiku:
Of a man out chasing his hat.