Drezden here. Last time I had regaled you with a exposition to my orchestral experience. No, I’m not talking about the first time I made love, but rather an affirmation, a testament to the intricate nature of our reality (as portrayed by so many in our past society) through music. I had sufficiently scotched myself up and was rolling along through a very impressionable consciousness when the confrontation with the bloody fingered man ended and the house lights dimmed to further draw the attention of the crowd towards the stage ahead. It was about eight thirty when the applause coxed out each of the violinists, cellists, bassists, flutests, basoonists, oboians, kettle drummers, snare drummers, French hornians, et all etcettera.
They gathered in their places to the light applause which began to die down. They arrayed themselves in a half circle formation, still standing (which made me wonder the prospect of a completely circular orchestra playing only to itself).
Just as the applause began to dwindle, they took a bow, which seemed to rejuvenate some enthusiasm, which resounded for a moment like a rouge wave on a beachhead. Then they sat and the Conductor appeared like some deity with a flourish of his magic music wand. The applause took off once more and died. The entire orchestra and the magic conductor man then turned to the audience and bowed. The applause resumed like a standing in church, to which I resolved to half halfheartedly participate.
The musicians then sat. The conductor then turned, and the applause died.
There was a moment, and then a breath, before the conductor raised his wand slowly.
One of the first chair violinists began to slowly saw the bow across the fragile instrument. It was quiet, too quiet, but just quiet enough to make out. It was a slow rocking back and forth that grasped at something ordered. It was taken up by the second chair, the third, the fourth and so on with all of the string instruments jauntily playing over and under each other in a vast rising volume of dripping violins.
The cellists, and the bassists, nudged in awkwardly one at a time until there was a looming cloud of cacophony filling the room. The scotch lurched in my stomach as it grew louder and louder, hints of No. 38 and a requiem in D minor arose with glimpses of Beethoven and Hayden rising into focus and then falling back into the broth of sound. The space seemed to be falling around with the sound. The people, the huge theater, began dissolving away as the sounds rose higher and higher until finally the ceiling broke and the orchestra culminated in unison with great powerful strokes of magnificent presence.
The musicians seemed to be at battle, firing shells of music into the audience below. From my balcony I pressed forward, my head cocked to the left to observe how each section called and recalled to each other. Glorious order in the static of our existence.
And yet when this climax had been reached, they saw fit to steal it away. The music acted as if a red hot iron had been pressed to it, shrieking in pain, squealing, as it rose and fell, once more dripping into a slow chaos. To this, the players stood and began to move together. The chaos resounding as they quieted and moved towards the back of the stage. The lights began to dim as they moved. They dimmed furthur and furthur as the sound died and melted into a raw moulten existance. The theater was black when the sound reduced to nothing more than errie plucking. They could be heard moving back into the hallways from whence they came and their sound left with the foreboding thought that they could appear anywhere, and when the lights returned it might not be the same reality I had become accustomed.
The darkness remained, and the plucking faded into silence in the dark.
I was dead sober when the lights returned, and a greater applause exploded through the crowd.
I was among them and I tipped my hat to their showmanship as well as their musical jest.
I checked the program to see that it was “Moz-Art a la Haydn” made in 1977.
The second song began as “Mozart’s own Violin Concerto No 1 in B flat” with the violin god returning to stage with many repetitions of appropriate times to clap. I decided that the reason for all this clapping business was to keep people awake. Not that I needed such encouragement, but as I said, it was an older crowd.
The piece wen’t through Allegro Moderato, Adagio, and presto with the Violin god (Mr. Tetzlaff) performing his own Cadenza (whatever a Cadenza is).
Mr Tetzlaff was the undoubted star of the show, standing next to the conductor (the undisputed second star of the show offering amusing and dynamic movements to the best parts of the piece). The man did not simply stand and play his instrument like a robot might, or how a preppy student would attempt, he was frankly on another level. He was too good to stand still, feeling each note and letting the motions of song reverberate through his body.
As he played the presto I recall watching his feet, standing there in the center of the orchestra in the center of the Lincoln center music hall, rocking out to a 241 year old piece of music emblazoned with his enthusiasm. His eyes closed, feeling the movements and letting his heels rise gently off the stage, his body lighter than the air around him, his form nothing but a fantastic energy in that time and space.
It was like he was soaring there, and I thought as I listened to the resounding sound of the entire orchestra backing him up and offering the depth, the totality of life as it were, behind him:
The more realizations you make are only that the world is vastly more intricate and complicated than you previously thought. This continues with each realization you make, and that may inhibit you to stop, to think that you couldn’t possibly make an impact on this vast thing that supports and surrounds your existence. But you always have and always will make an impact in ways that are far more intricate and complicated than you previously thought.
What it took for that man down there, what it took for him to get there, not in some abstract sense of status, but for him to be standing on those wooden floorboards where he is now in the glow of the sound at the center of the room, his sound rising higher than all others at just the right moments next to the conductor. How he got to where he was exactly.
If you could see 4th dimentional vision, the hours and connections and practice it took for him to be there. And then on top of being in that spot, what he does with the notes and the way they strike you. The way he moves to lift off the ground trying to bring everyone around him up along on his journey. Each member of the orchestra trying to reach the same thing and yet perhaps realizing, perhaps not realizing where they are, working together as this organism.
It’s like they are soaring.
And yet then you realize that this entire scenario is just one aspect of the world and creation, that someone made each instrument their own and became one with them. That the violin is so intricate, infinitely intricate, and it is just one path to greatness, even if that greatness is just to stand before Lincoln center and soar for an hour.
And I thought, that was why it is so important to take things for what they are and not let what surrounds it cloud the vision of beholding greatness in such purity.
There are many channels to greatness and perhaps an infinite sky to soar if we can only find the way.
It was at that last thought I realized that the fish scampi was battling alongside with the oyster h’ordeuvres and scotch I had on the Veranda. I contained myself THROUGH THE CADENZA WHICH WAS LOVELY until the applause marking the intermission where I adjourned at rapid pace to the bathroom. I pushed past several stuff shirted type men awaiting the third stall on the left, and retched into the sterling bowl in the lobby men’s room.
To be continued…next time