Last night I had a transcendental experience at Civic Orchestra of Chicago, listening to Rapsodie Espagnole by Maurice Ravel and Symphony No.5 in D Minor, Op.47 by Dmitri Shostakovich. Under the principal conductor Cliff Colnot and young musicians. The concert hall was filled with middle aged women and fewer men! Where were young men and women?
Rapsodie Espagnole is Ravel's earliest piece he wrote in 1895 after he left Paris conservatory. This piece is his best known evocations of the Spain he so seldom visited, yet seemed to know so well. I was enormously mesmerized by the poetry of the environment, the passionate soul of music and sensual experience which made our night uniquely memorable.
Shostakovich’s piece gave me a different feeling. Phillip Huscher writes: “Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony is perhaps the best known work of art born from the marriage of politics and music.” He later explains: “Shostakovich claimed he wrote the Largo at White heat in three days-information that is hard to digest once one hears this calm and controlled music, moving slowly over vast, wide-open space. The lucid, thin textures occasionally turn Spartans-a solo oboe melody against a single sustained violin note, a flute duet accompanied by a quiet harp-but every phrase carries meaning, every note is indispensable.”
After the classical concert I was light as a butterfly, dancing by the movements of the violins, harps, flutes and cellos. Thinking of a young cellist whose vibrant emotions made a deep connection between us….