Thursday, May 1, 2014

A musical memory: together and transcendent

Here's a great arts memory I had to share -- I thought of it last night, and I would hate myself if I never wrote it down. Linda, you came with me to a symphony concert several years ago to hear Gilbert Kaplan conduct the Mahler Symphony #2 (Kaplan is an 'amateur' who conducts only the Second; lots of people think he’s a poser, but I don't care -- I've heard much worse from supposed pros, and I really heard new things in his interpretation that I hadn't in countless other listenings . . . so if you don't like him, bail now.)

As the fourth movement, the beautiful Urlicht, began, you took my hand in yours and rested your head on my shoulder, and we stayed that way, clasped together, not moving, through the end. We were just friends, and we never talked about it after, and there was nothing romantic about it – but more that was LOVING about it than practically anything I’ve shared with anyone. The music pulled me up out of myself, and I felt a beautiful sense of peace, and oneness with you. I would give much to live through that again, and that memory still makes my heart pulse profoundly. I don’t know if I ever thanked you. Thank you, Linda; thanks, Gilbert . . . thanks, Gustav!

The English translation of the lyrics:

Primeval Light
O red rose!
Man lies in greatest need!
Man lies in greatest pain!
How I would rather be in heaven.
There came I upon a broad path
when came a little angel and wanted to turn me away.
Ah no! I would not let myself be turned away!
I am from God and shall return to God!
The loving God will grant me a little light,
Which will light me into that eternal blissful life!
—From Des Knaben Wunderhorn

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