One of the things I have looked freshly at over the past few months is the place of music in my experiences of the Transcendent throughout my life. From the fourth grade on, but especially from 6th grade through high school, music was the principle way in which God's unceasing presence was mediated to me. Music was a sustaining and empowering reality, a source of coherence, order, beauty, and personal, spiritual, and intellectual growth.
Last year I didn't play with Oakland Civic Orchestra at all, not only because an injury made walking almost impossible at times, but (and more importantly) because of various concerns re eremitical life and some work I needed to do with regard to eremitical solitude. It was a good choice and in some ways I think that work in the Fall and Spring eventuated in the inner work undertaken over the past 4.5-5 months. It has been a challenging, painful, and also wonderful number of months and though there is probably more work to be done, the essential healing seems to be completed. (My injury too is almost entirely healed so that is also pretty cool.) So this year I am back with OCO and our first concert is tomorrow afternoon.
It seems one of those amazing bits of timing I associate with this period that, just a week after completing a very significant chunk of essential healing, life should be marked by a concert with long-time friends and colleagues. God, of course, is immensely --- infinitely--- good and gracious. And in my life the ability to play orchestral and chamber music with others from diverse backgrounds is most often a kind of eighth Sacrament which nourishes and sustains me and my prayer in the silence of solitude. I am looking forward to the concert and the season as a whole (not least because in the final set we will do Beethoven's 5th symphony once again after a number of years) though I must say I am only just getting back up to speed in terms of playing.
The program this set includes Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade and A Life for the Czar Overture by Glinka as well as a set of "Five Fragments" by Shostakovich --- which, it seems to me. were never meant for public consumption and should have been left in whatever cupboard in which they were found! (Just saying!) I am not ordinarily much of a fan of contemporary music and this piece is one of my least favorite ever. But the Glinka and Scheherazade are terrific --- typically Russian pieces folks will relate to! Meanwhile, the video of Finlandia above is from last season's "Sibelius set". Some of the video, especially of the right side of the orchestra, is quite dark but persevere --- it is a backdrop for the light that is also present.
In the words of Dag Hammarskjöld, "For all that has been, thanks. For all that will be, YES!" (Markings)