Saturday, November 7, 2009

the silence afterward

Last night I had the spur-of-the-moment, unexpected pleasure of going to see the Dallas Symphony Orchestra with a friend from school who was able to get tickets. I love music and the arts in general, but I think I would classify myself as a kind of wanna-be... I love to sing but don't really know anything about playing an instrument (assuming we won't count piano lessons when I was 8), love to see plays and musicals but can't act (assuming we won't count being in the chorus of a couple high school musicals) or sing solo because I can't really handle being front-and-center (assuming we won't count teaching), and love the beauty of the outdoors but don't really like getting dirty or doing camping-types of things (assuming we won't count my love of the idea of it).

So anyway, I don't pretend to be a classical music afficionado or to know anything about it, but I do enjoy it and was excited to have something a little less run-of-the-mill to do than other usual routine forms of entertainment. Plus we got to dress up and see fancy people and beautiful architecture, and that's always fun, and I got to have a girly evening, which I'm all about. All that to say, I couldn't tell you anything really about what it was I heard, exactly, and I can't really speak about it intelligently, but I certainly enjoyed and appreciated the experience. The first part featured an amazing pianist, the likes of whom I've never seen in my life. His fingers moved all over the piano at a speed I didn't even know was possible not just for a moment, but for a solid half hour or so. I spent much of time just staring in comlete amazement with my jaw hanging half-open.

The second part, after intermission, seemed much more cohesive and a little less all-over-the-place (do you like my intelligent musical review?). It was rich and beautiful, though as my 9:30, and then 10:00, bedtime approached, I found it harder to stay awake and alert enough to keep my mind from wandering. I feel like I read somewhere once that listening to classical music can actually boost your IQ, so even though I would probably be hated by anyone who has a true knowledge about and love for classical music, I kind of felt like it was a nice time to sit and relax and just think.

After being serenaded by a constant stream of beautiful music, I have to say that one of things that struck me the most was the beauty of the silence afterward. The conductor had been moving so constantly and passionately with the music the whole way through, leaning forward, bending backward until I thought the little bar behind him might actually be necessary to keep him from falling. When the piece was finished, he kept his baton raised for what seemed like an eternity while the musicians all remained in a position of readiness, bows raised, bodies poised as though about to play. The silence in this big, lovely place after such big, lovely music was literally breath-taking. No one stirred or dared move a muscle, almost as though the conductor were conducting the audience, as well, until he lowered his baton. It sounds a bit silly, I know, but that's the best that I can describe the silence afterward.

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