Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday Serenity #364


Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 --  Handel: Organ Concerto
University of California Television (UCTV)
note: begins with Handel Concerto.  Beethoven's 9 starts at approx 14 min
This is an ongoing series from my Bucket List of things I desperately want to do before I loose the rest of my vision.


My Bucket List
#6 Attend a Performance of Beethoven's Symphony #9 by a top notch Orchestra

MAX Philharmonic Orchestra
Beethoven 9th 2012
Of course I'd want to sit with a good view of the percussion section.  The pic to the left is a still from the vid linked in the caption.  The drummer is a woman!  I would have posted that vid if the audio quality had not been so poor.

If I was actually presenting these from a list already prepared and in the order of most important, this one would probably take first place.

I discovered Beethoven's Symphony #9 in the early 90s while listening to the local classical radio station in Longview.  For the first half dozen times I heard it I missed the identification.  By the time I learned it was Beethoven's #9 I was already deeply in love with it.  Only way to put it that translates how I felt about it.

Learning next that it's final movement was known as Ode to Joy made it that much sweeter.  I took it on as my mantra, my totem, my mood medicine, my theme song, my impetus, my name (identity, identification; the very notes not the words or title), my manifestation (that which embodied my essence and now represents, announces my presence).

I managed to get a passable recording off the radio but soon bought a CD.  One of the first CDs we bought as the new technology became more affordable than cassettes.  The first of at least four that I wore out.  Several more got damaged.  I listened to it over and over and over.  In the beginning half a dozen times a day or more.  I put it on repeat as I did chores, wrote, daydreamed, exercised, meditated. Within a month or two I was able to play a several minute section in my head with the boombox off.  

I couldn't choose which sections.  A random memory of a note would trigger it and for a few seconds or a few minutes my mind was replaying it.  It would last only as long as I could stay both focused and relaxed.  The moment my thoughts strayed or I tried to direct it there would be an implacable silence.  But for the duration it was almost hard to tell the difference between that mental exercise and the real recording.  It crossed my mind that this is probably something like what it sounded like for the deaf Beethoven as he composed it.  

That was an especially rough time in my life.  I was in the throws of another lifequake of even greater proportions than this year's.  Just the high notes per se:  
  • My mood disorder had not yet been identified so was still untreated and currently in a very low slump. 
  • Ed was unemployed. 
  • I'd recently excommunicated myself from the fundamentalist church I was raised in (in which my identity was firmly rooted and my extended family on both sides were involved)
  • Our behaviorally challenging 17 year old nephew was living with us while attending his last two years of school
  • I was still reeling from the confirmation in 1990 that I had inherited the RP and was already legally blind 
  • I was plagued by an abscessed tooth 
  • I'd defaulted on my student loan which limited my options
  • The recent birth of several nieces and nephews had awakened my yearning for a baby of my own
  • A baby, one of a set of twins, we were caring for several days a week, succumbed to SIDS (not while in our care thank goodness)  
I credit Beethoven's 9th for seeing me through all of that.  It is not overstating to say that it was co-creating or reprogramming me over the 7 years between 1993 and 1999.  The list of things it did for me seems endless:
  • It modified my mood
  • It embedded in my consciousness the essential shape of a story and was thus behind the several short stories I finished over those years and the mapping out of several novels. 
  • It moved me both emotionally and physically--literally motivated me to get myself in motion both as in exercise and chores and in mapping out my future, setting goals and taking action. 
  • It revitalized hope.  
  • It taught me what 'joy' feels like so I could recognize it when it manifested.  
  • It imbued me with the sense that the ups and downs of life were a given and that neither the dark times nor the bright times last so one must learn to ride those times like a wave attributing permanence to neither.  This shift in consciousness enabled me to ride through several more low times in my mood cycle without succumbing to despair or suicidal ideation.
I've not listened to it much over the last several years and I think that was a grave error.  My two discs bought in the late 90s have scratches on them and I hadn't bothered replacing them since my discman had stopped working and my netbook's audio jack had significant issues for several years making the listening experience unpleasant.  I have been using YouTube to go listen every once in awhile when it crosses my mind.  But now that I have the Blaze smartphone I'm going to look for a good recording of the complete symphony to put on it and also on my Aspire.

But the epitome of a listening experience I long for is to sit through a performance where the music surrounds me, envelopes me, and becomes a representation of That in which I live and breathe and have my being.

My Bucket List

1 tell me a story:

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