It was a privilege for my wife and me to attend a small concert proffered by 3 string players from the Charlotte symphony. It was a masterful presentation of an evening of music written by 3 composers from Eastern Europe; Martinü, Bartok and Dvorāk.
Composers of the classics produced wonderful music, challenging the musician to play their abstract creation, and with such high demands to conquer as to take years of practice to do so. Their music endures. It satisfies like no other form of music. Its sensory qualities have no equal for restoration and refreshment of soul.
I sat focused, alternatively, on their demeanor, the artistry of their compelling music, and the reality of beauty for the soul. I reflected on the God who created the possibility of abstract beauty I observed displayed in the physiognomy of the performers. This was a public performance but for those of us who had understanding, it was an encounter with the creator of the universe. Magnificent! It was food for my soul!
I reveled in the artistry of these peerless performers who had jaw dropping skill. But it was more than skill. I noted how they were one with their instrument. The musicians caressed their instruments with a loving touch, like that of a mother with her child. There was an obvious understatement of the thousands of hours in learning and practice that brought them to this stage of life. I was aware, and in deep gratitude, for their resolve and perseverance to come to this level…and be able to bless me with their gift.
And, oh, the glorious sound of the strings; the violin and viola. So much emotion can be expressed by these instruments when in the hands of the maestros of music. But, for me, the viola is a glorious instrument, my favorite. There is no sound like the deep, golden throated, sonorous quality of the viola. As the baritone is to choral music, so is the viola to the orchestra. Remember Robert Goulet? (If Ever I would Leave You). Or better yet, Whitney Phipps as he sang as the Father God in “Savior”. Then there are the overtones of harmonies that challenge me to listen even more closely. This is great reward for the listener who connects with the viola.
There is something compelling, even seductive about the viola. It seems to say, “Come away with me and experience the rhapsody of sound I can create for you. Relax, be refreshed and renewed in your spirit by the soothing musical fibers as you indulge in my sound.”
The music ended; the evening came to a close. The audience reluctantly rose to their feet; slowly and reverently they filed out of their seats and shuffled toward the door. What was perhaps less than a minute seemed so much longer before the audience regained their sense of equilibrium in normal conversation. Even then, it seemed somehow sacrilegious to engage in every day chatter.
I wish you could have been there too!