Sunday, December 14, 2008

For me, It's Not About the Dancing

Pete and I went on our annual trip downtown to see "The Nutcracker" yesterday. Is it a tradition if you've only done it 2 years in a row? I think so.

The performance wasn't any better or worse than last year. I don't think. I have to admit that I missed a lot of the dancing. My eyes were on the orchestra pit. The music was live! How could I not watch the musicians? Next year I'm bringing my binoculars. To watch the musicians. Ballet is so much better with live music. And there were a couple of times (don't laugh at me) when the music got all dramatic and I got all choked up (I said don't laugh at me). For real. Tears-in-my-eyes choked up. I'm pretty sure certain the dancing wasn't what got to me, and I don't think it was the story (although I am a sucker for a sweet little fantasy). It was the music. Our little symphony is pretty good. And music just gets to me. Not only classical music either. All music. All kinds. I don't have the same reaction to all music, either. Sometimes I get weepy, like with this or with some religious or patriotic songs (those of you who know me best might think that's odd, but what can I say?). Sometimes I get all bubbly-inside happy (there is actually at least one Cure song that does that to me). Sometimes I get excited - heart racing, fight-or-flight kind of excited. Sometimes I get aroused ((blush))... I don't usually get angry (although I did get a little annoyed at the parent of the little girl who crinkled her cellophane for about 10 minutes after the lights went down for the 2nd act. I would have told her to stop myself if I'd been closer. But that wasn't a reaction to the music). In fact, if I don't have a physical reaction to music I'm listening to, I have to figure out why. So instead of listening to KISS sing "Rock and Roll All Night" with Husbandguy, I hear the lack of depth in the music and wish we could change the station.

It's kind of the same when I'm playing the piano or singing. At least it used to be. When I am comfortable with a piece, the music is physical for me. It comes through me. Or out of me. The piano - keys, pedals, bench even - and the music - melody, chords, harmony & dissonance - and I aren't separate. It's weird to say I become one with the music. And it's not exactly accurate to say that because that's not what it's like. Maybe it's right to say I become one with the piano. That's still weird, but it's closer... However I describe it (and I'll think of a good description as soon as this posts), it's physical. If it's not, it feels fake and it's frustrating and not pleasurable or worth doing.

So I wish they would always have live music at the ballet. Or if they don't, I wish they would print the information about the recording they're using, at least, because I think it's important. And I hope that at some point in the near future, HG says yes (yes=shrugs his shoulders and doesn't say no), that there's enough money for me to take piano lessons again and that he and the girls will support my doing that. And in the meantime, if someone has a copy of Bach's 2-Part Invention #13 in A-minor that you could share with me, would you send it along? I have a whole book of his 3-part inventions (thank you, TG), but I think I'd like to learn that one.


The Grandpa said...

Having had the wonderful experience of both watching and hearing you play, what you say doesn't surprise me at all. Music is not some abstract mental thing for you. Music comes through you. You have to respond physically to that.

I know the feeling too, though. It's not just music that works that way for me. So does poetry or paintings. But I also know the physical response to music. Last week we were at the symphony for its Gospel Cristmas performance. Several pieces affected me physically. But when they did Oh Happy Day, It was all I could do to not cry. S looked over at me and asked if I was all right.

And it wasn't the song itself or the words or the sentiment. [You know me better than that.] It was the performance, and the purity of the art.

Princess Sparkle Pants said...

If it's Just Like Heaven, then... me too!!!!!! I introduced that song to Beanie this week!!! The best part of having kids is introducing them to stuff you love. Including the ballet. And Symphony!!!

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