An evening at the symphony
Posted: Friday, Nov. 18, 2011
John Syme graduated from Davidson College with a bachelor of arts degree in French in 1985. He worked as a general-assignment reporter at The Winston-Salem Journal, where he later wrote freelance travel stories during his first solo cross-country road trip in the summer of 1989. He worked as a copywriter at a Charlotte advertising agency, as a research translator at a French nutrition center outside Paris, and as a politics and education newspaper reporter in Charlotte. He returned in 2001 to Davidson, where he is senior writer, alumni editor and instigator of the "Road Trip 2009" blog, which evolved into his current blog, "Daybook Davidson."
I went to the symphony last evening. Thats how symphony swells talk, last evening -- I read it in a book.The backdrop for my evening on the town, Charlottes Tryon Street, was hopping. The venue, Blumenthal Center for the Performing Arts, was grand. The conversation, with my erstwhile Davidson colleague and fine friend Mike Warner who now works for the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, was scintillating.The music, Beethovens Fifth, his Egmont Overture, and Bachs Brandenburg Concerto No. 4, was... more than mere workaday music, in many ways.I had forgotten what depth and breadth live performance of classical music can mean. It can mean a lot.At one point during the concert, my vision fuzzed and my perception fused the orchestra into a single organism working its sound and light directly onto Little Moi me, John, Row H, Seat 210. Wow.At another point, I became entirely unaware of my own body how long did I stop breathing? until said bodys involuntary sway in tune with the genius past and present on full-bore, eternal display before me now brought me back to my seat, plop, changed forever.I think that it is indeed some eternally folded and unfolding answer to a vague question of time and space that makes the difference for live performances, and for live performances of classical music in particular.Beethoven? Bach? Oh, my gods of classical genius centuries past!Christopher Warren-Green and his black-clad avatars precisely piercing a thin place in the veil of the sublime at one of my very own precious moments in time? Oh, my gods of classical genius present, bravo!At intermission, Mike and I talked about all this in a very erudite fashion. Spoiled perhaps by electronica, it has become too easy to forget, we agreed, the feeling of every molecule of earth and ether, of air and chair vibrating at exactly the same frequency in such a space, filled with such a number of like-souled people.Thats the kind of direct experience classical music was created for in the first place, and whether its in the soaring spaces of the Blumenthal or any of the other venues that the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and other classical musicians are enlivening these days, its worth returning to the unfiltered source to feel.Check it out for yourself. Two special classical opps are happening Monday.The Davidson College Concert Choir, joined by the Northwest School of the Arts Chamber Choir and the Davidson Pro Arte Orchestra will perform Vivaldi's Gloria and Rutter's Gloria and Pinkham's Christmas Cantata.The Charlotte Youth Symphony Orchestras will perform at Halton Theater at CPCC. Click for depth and breadth!
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