I was lucky this weekend. I got to attend a Columbus Symphony concert on Saturday night. You know how much I love to listen to live symphony music, so it was a treat to visit Columbus, sit in a beautiful venue, and listen to such lovely music.
The program contained three pieces. The first, Brio: Toccata and Fantasy for Orchestra, was written by a relatively young composer, John Estacio, born in 1966. It felt like a lush movie background, perhaps the sound you hear behind one of those motion films seen on giant screens, where you’re in an airplane flying low across the country. At the beginning I could see herds of horses racing across the prairie, the majestic Rocky Mountains touched with snow. I felt the plane dip low into the Grand Canyon, then glide gently across farmland, barns glowing in the sun. Soon I was on the East Coast, swinging through New York’s Central Park, where the frenetic sounds of millions of commuters began to infringe on the calm. The piece ended, for me, in the streets of that city with people and taxis moving together in the crazy race of city life. I know these images are likely not the inspiration the composer used when he wrote this piece, but I thoroughly enjoyed imaging it my way.
Second on the program was Rachaninoff’s Concerto No. 2 in C Minor for Piano and Orchestra, Op.18. It starts melancholy, contemplative, but my favorite part was the second movement, so sweetly gentle, such a familiar melody. You’d recognize it if you heard, (I linked so you CAN hear) and you’d smile. I smiled.
The last piece of the night was also familiar; Brahm’s Symphony No. 4 in E Minor, Op. 98. I thought my favorite movement of the four was the first. It’s so lush, so full, so familiar. But it turns out my favorite was the third movement with it’s grand entrance, jubilant and exultant moving into a playful dance.
I was thinking, on the walk back out to the car, that if everyone could experience an evening like this just once in awhile the world would be a better place. There are so many bad things going on both here at home and across the world. Music like this is like comfort food. In fact I’ll risk calling it comfort music. I could feel the stress flowing out of my neck and shoulders as I sat and absorbed the music into my soul Saturday night.
I wish, truly wish, everyone could experience music live. If you ever get the opportunity attend a symphony concert one evening, even if you don’t think you like this kind of music. Just go. Close your eyes and let your mind float free. See how you feel. See what you imagine. It will expand your mind. It will let you breath.
Comfort music. We could all use a little more of it.