Mar. 6th, 2010

wlotus: (Music)
I'm listening to Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony, and I'm transported back to the day I first heard it. It was the end of the Summer of 2008. The New York Philharmonic was having their free, open rehearsal for their opening night gala, and I decided to take advantage of my freedom from punching a clock to attend. I was excited about seeing James Galway; he was the featured soloist, and I'd always admired his playing. Of course I would jump at the chance to see him for free!

Unless I look it up I cannot tell you what piece Galway played, though I remember seeing him walk merrily onstage in jeans and put the orchestra through its paces. All memory of Galway with his magical flute was erased from my mind by the first notes of the trumpet fanfare that began the first movement of Tchaikovsky's Fourth. By the time the strings soared through the end of the movement, I was completely swept away by the music. The second movement had me swaying in time, eyes closed, hands over my heart. I had never heard anything like the precise, rapid pizzicato of the third movement. (I had no idea one could play pizzicato on a double bass at that speed!) The exciting finale raised the short hairs on the back of my neck and chased me out of my seat to join in the rousing standing ovation we gave the orchestra. I may have even sent several breathless text messages to friends as I headed for the subway.

When I arrived at home I immediately searched iTunes Music Store for a recording. The first one I purchased (Berliner Philharmoniker & Herbert Von Karajan, from 2003) was great...except for an obvious error in the trumpet fanfare in the opening seconds of the piece. Later I replaced it with a 1990 recording by Igor Markevitch and The London Symphony Orchestra. That is the recording that is setting the tone for this latter part of my Saturday morning. May you shape your Saturday into something as enjoyable as I am shaping mine to be.

Beautiful Music 1

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