January 30, 2005

Watching music

For Saturday date night, we didn't need to choose a lame movie this week; we had tickets to the Snowstorm Symphony Orchestra! I love going to the symphony. When you buy the cheap last-minute tickets, you get put either high in the balcony, or way up close, just beneath the feet of the musicians. Both are great places for people watching.

Up high on the balcony, you can look down at the crowd as they come in. You can tell so much from their body movements. That couple there: they've been fighting. Perhaps they will make up later on tonight after all that music washes over them. The man there? He doesn't want to be here. See the way he is sitting, his body stiff, his eyes staring into space. I wonder if the music will touch him despite his disinterest. Those two women there? They've known each other for a long time. See the way they are talking, their gestures completely in sync. That young man who just came in, with the two girls right after him: he's eager to be here. Look at the way he scans the stage. I bet he's some kind of musician.

When the lights dim, and the orchestra begins, my attention shifts to the stage. From way high up, you get to see how the whole group moves as one, everything in the orchestra so carefully coordinated. The music is matched by a precision of movement: every elbow in that row moving in and out, perfectly, practiced and precise.

Last night, we had the seats way in the front, the seats they sell last because no one wants them. We were so close that I could tell you what kind of socks the first violinist was wearing. From this angle, you notice first the feet: some are still, careful not to move, but always there are a few, who like my Dad, have to tap a foot when playing. The clothes are all the same - everyone in black - but the best part of all about sitting up close, is that you get to watch the faces. The orchestra becomes not one entity but all kinds of fascinating individuals.

Look at that musician there: he is concentrating entirely, his eyes never moving, his entire being focused on the score. Look at the woman on the left: her dark eyes intent, her lips just slightly parted, she is not even in this room, her whole self is caught up in the music, lost to the rhythm. It makes me shiver to watch this up close: the utter absorption, dedication, and concentration of an artist.


Anonymous said...

We had the 2nd row seats for the Jazz concert Sat night. My son loves concerts and I love to go with him. He watches them the way he watches complicated sports and deeply involves his 11-year-old body in every move. It was a pleasure.

And yes, now to take out the books for class tomorrow. It's almost 10pm. We had guests over for dinner and it's all cleared away.

Friday afternoon's list of 6 things I have to do before I leave the office? Couldn't do it when my daughter called to say the garage door wouldn't open up and let her in (that's the house key as far as she's concerned) so I just had to leaving the prepping and grading.


jo(e) said...

timna: your life sounds a lot like mine! I just checked out your blog and we have a lot in common ....

Musey_Me said...

jo(e), thanks for this description. I play in my community orchestra and it's nice to hear that all that effort at looking good is appreciated (e.g., getting our arms going in the same direction at the same time) and that I'm not the only one who loves to watch the members of the orchestra from the audience.