Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Music Memories

Tonight Steve has been invited to go to a musical concert. He rarely does anything except with his family or by himself so this is unusual. But it has reminded me of musical moments in my past.

Beatles, Olympia Stadium, Detroit 1964. I loved the Beatles! We'd sit for hours playing their records over and over. While not listening to them, my friends and I would have spoken fantasy sessions involving the Beatles leaving their girlfriends for us-chunky prepubescents. I told the best stories of course. So when a wealthy neighbor of my grandfather invited me to go see The Beatles in person, I was thrilled beyond belief. Of course I could not actually hear them. What I did hear was non-stop screaming and ringing in my ears for the next few days; but there they were in the flesh! I screamed too.

Organ Symphony, Saint-Saens, Hill Auditorium 1972. I forgot what else was playing that night. So for the first 3 movements, I was impatiently wondering why this was called the 'Organ Symphony' as I heard no organs. Maybe amongst the orchestra there was a small organ I overlooked but then, the organ literally rose from a platform under the floor and struck the first few chords that filled the auditorium. Beauty!

Beethoven's Third Symphony, The Eroica. Various times in my life. Aside from listening to Marche Militaire in elementary school, I had little exposure to classical music. Woodwinds (unless you were very good) played 'band'-think Sousa; Strings played classical. I played the silly clarinet chosen as a 10 year old because I liked the name. It was an unfortunate choice for me (and I have only myself to blame)because it had a reed I kept breaking at 25 cents apop (this was alot of money when you had none) and it was impossible to play wearing a skirt without simultaneously 'shooting a beaver' unless you were very careful, which I was not. But in high school in a humanities class, we learned the history of music studying in detail The Eroica (not erotica as I called it then-it was written to celebrate Napoleon's heroism but then Beethoven decided that his hero had clay feet and erased his name from the dedication. We also studied Bach's Cantata Awake! A Voice is Calling! putting into music the parable of the Groom and the Twenty Brides (ten were wise, ten were foolish). As a child, I didn't quite know what to make of this story. But I found I loved Beethoven. Later I thought I found my soulmate with a French Horn/preMed double major so I learned alot about French Horns. The third movement features French Horns so over and over, I heard this. But the 4th movement is so beautiful we cried together over it.

Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 8, La Pathétique: After I first heard this, I wanted to learn to play it. I can sort of (sort of) play the first movement in slow motion. After listening to me play, one might conclude that pathétique means pathetic but no, it means pathos. There are other piano sonatas too that I love. Steve and I went to a series of concerts before we were married featuring all 32 of them played by a South American woman with very tiny hands. The last one is really my favorite, especially the last movement but it would be very, very difficult to play.

The thunderstorms have stopped temorarily. Time to run! I of course, had many other musical moments in my life. I will get to them.

We watched some of the women's NCAA championship last night. I was rooting against the Huskies who ended up winning anyway. But their best player, arguably the best player in the country, shares a name with my putative granddaughter.

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