Friday, October 5, 2012

An evening at the symphony

My heart continues to soar this morning after attending last night’s performance of Beethoven’s fifth symphony by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. From those first, famous "Ba-ba-ba-bom" notes, I was captivated and keenly present. The music itself is tremendously moving but to watch an orchestra skillfully perform this physically demanding music is inspiring.

As I sat in the symphony hall I was bathed in an awareness of good fortune. There I sat, with my wounded heart, seated in this world-class, exquisite hall, surrounded by other music lovers with their own wounds and worries. My heart, bursting with the pleasure of the moment, hearing this music composed long ago by a man unable to hear his own compositions, wrote from his own wounded heart.

Conductor Giancarlo Guerrero vigorously led a talented orchestra through the movements. His stocky form moved with grace, an athlete at work in his fitted tuxedo. It was all invigorating and profoundly moving.

While the music was exquisite, what struck me with force is the vast, collective talent the performance represented. I sat in this breathtakingly beautiful building. It was dreamed of for years by the city’s cultural movers and shakers. Their vision and planning brought the needed funds to reality. Other talents designed a hall to rival the best symphony halls in Europe. A survivor of the historic and massive 2010 flood that hit Nashville, the hall is restored. It is a true delight to be in the building. One of the things I enjoy about going to the symphony hall is standing at the railing of the second floor balcony above the Grand Foyer and watching the people of Nashville milling around below.

The building is one thing. Another is the amassed talent on stage. Young and old, the musicians performed with rigor, feeling and precision. And the bass clarinet player almost made me swoon!

Here’s the thing: people thought up all of this. People similar to myself, with profound wounds, physical limitations, griefs, psychological burdens or all kinds. Like each of us, each one contributing to last night’s beauty and wonder, were and are profoundly human.

I think we so often, in our woundedness, forget the wonders of which we are truly capable. When we give from where we are, as we are, the results can be remarkable. Beethoven didn’t stop writing because he was deaf.

You may not have contributed to the making of a remarkable musical performance (although many of my Nashville friends have!). But I have no doubt you have touched another’s life with your abilities, wisdom, or love. And that is equally remarkable to Beethoven’s fifth.

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