FASA is officially caught up with me. I plan on writing every day…and then I realize I really need to practice.
And then I realize I am really tired.
And so I go to bed.
I think most participants at FASA experience this rare and challenging mental prospect.
But finally here I am, sitting in the office during a lovely 10 minutes of free time (oh the wonder!) wildly dashing out this blog because there is too much to say. The days are chock full. Literally. Overflowing. From 8am to 10pm, every moment stuffed with things that I really want to write about.
Like the enchantment experienced when a fifteen-year-old girl stands up in front of a 120-piece orchestra and sings LaCrimosa like Leontyne Price. The title means ‘weeping’, and I want to weep. It is the kind of intense beauty that fills your heart and swells through you, rushing through your blood stream, making your mind swim.
Or reaching round to grab the low bass strings on the harp for the mellifluous rich chords of Dives and Lazarus, a piece I have listened to for years, that I would have had the London Philharmonic play if I had been Princess Kate getting married at Westminster Abbey. Because I love it that much. And as the strings swell and the harps reverberate and I glissando the crazy out of my fingers I literally feel the piece throb inside of me and I want to add to it, be a part of it, enter into it and let myself free in the magic of these notes and these instruments joining in harmony.
Which is why there are very large throbbing callouses on my glissando fingers…
As Maestro Jung-Ho Pak reiterates every morning in orchestra, the beauty comes from playing from our heart, not playing like machines going note by note on a sheet of paper that’s a security wall between us and the audience. Technique and skill and notes are tools to enable us to execute what we feel, to paint our emotions. The notes on the page are merely a blueprint for the expression of something spiritual that stirs every heart that hears it.
It reminds me that sound waves never actually die away…the waves continually build structures. Every time we play a piece or sing a song, that music never ends. It goes into the netherworld, somewhere inside the accordion folder of existence, affecting us, changing our perception of what is around us.
We saw the Seattle Symphony play Daphne and Chloë a year or so ago. I had never seen an orchestra play like that, a canvas of colors and sweeps and swells and dynamics and dancing. And above the orchestra they told the story of Daphne and Chloë’s love, and the music became the backdrop, painting each scene in one’s imagination. Gretchen, my sister, had just gone through eye surgery and couldn’t see for a long distance yet, and to her eyes the orchestra melded together. She told me later that she cried because of the miracle of those performers, all unique, with their own thoughts and histories and instruments, joining together in harmony and order to make something so beautiful…and it looked like one great golden shimmer, pulsing with the heart of the beauty we heard.
And then there was the night where we found out who we actually were, really…like we didn’t know before (and we really didn’t). And oh what fun it is to go on a quest to find out the ins and outs of your own crazy head!
But that’s for another blog.