22 March 2008

Salzburg Easter Festival

Once in a while you have one of those experiences that palpably heighten your quality of life. The kind where you can feel everybody around you respond and shift. The kind when it’s really difficult to just sit still, rather than leap to your feet and shout, “YES, YES, YOU GOT IT!!”

Tonight I had the immense pleasure of taking my mom to hear the Berlin Philharmonic play at the Easter Festival in Salzburg. It’s part of a week of celebrating her 80th birthday.
First of all, how lucky am I to be able to share my life with my 80-year old mother? The fact that I can take her back to Salzburg, 40 years after she and my father spent Summers here teaching at the Mozarteum, is amazing to say the least.

She is so proud of me, and bringing her here to hear me sing is quite thrilling. The fact is that I’ve been walking around this place for the past few weeks wondering what on earth I’ve done that has me spending my time singing and frolicking with my fellow Walküre sisters for a living…. What a life!!

But back to tonight’s program…
They played Brahms 1st Symphony at the end – And it was truly amazing. It’s one of my favorites anyway, so I knew I’d be a happy camper. But it was moving and exciting, and simply put, I have just never heard such gluey, seamless, and absolutely unified playing from any string section ever. I’ve rarely heard such stupendously solid and beautiful horn solos, and their principal flutist (a star in his own right) has the most flawless and distinct sound. Not to mention the oboist. Anyway, they ARE impressive, and it is a visceral experience to hear them.

In the first half, Heinrich Schiff played the Dvorak Cello Concerto. He is according to rumor recuperating from a stroke a while back, and I am sure that people who know the piece well, or who know his playing from before can tell what’s good and what’s not.
I, however, am blissfully ignorant of both these things, and simply appreciated being there.

And I believe, so did he!

There were beautiful sections of chamber playing between principals in the orchestra and him, and there were some incredibly tender and moving moments of a kind of distinct sweetness that, I believe, can only come from someone who truly knows that impressing is not the name of the game. Expressing is.
And maybe more importantly, BEING there NOW is!

I can only imagine that he must have been experiencing the blessing of his body actually being able to do this at all!

We are so exceptionally lucky to be able to make music with our bodies. It will end at some point – either because of age or injury. And we will need to find purpose in other things. But there is something awe inspiring about the physical feat it is to perform at this level. I think it is why we sit spellbound during the Olympics. It is as if all of us, from the perspective of our most authentic non-physical reality, are appreciating and LOVING what the body gives us to do.

I love the saying, “it’s all just a game, but you could play it like your life depended on it!….”

There is no time to waste. Neither with my mother, nor in music-making, nor in love and life at large.

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