My lovely Hubbs entered a drawing at work a few months back, and won a pair of tickets to the San Francisco Symphony! Sunday was the big evening, and in the running around and getting ready to go, I took 10 minutes to do something that made our experience 100 times better, I’m sure.
Literally, this was done in the 10 minutes before I needed to go get ready. I looked up the performance that we were going to see, and found out the name of the pieces and composers. I googled and wikipedia-ed, and quickly copied/pasted a few interesting-looking paragraphs about each composer and piece. I printed out the three pages and threw them in my purse. Not a long drawn out research project, let me tell you!
Over dinner, I read Hubbs some of the interesting facts, and we talked about them. (even though we didn’t understand many of the musical terms or info). I highlighted a few things that we’d want to remember, so we could read it just before the song was performed.
Can I tell you, this transformed our listening experience. Instead of just being amazed by the beautiful music, and then, maybe, feeling like it could.. just.. put.. me to sleep… I knew that the violins in the Russian Easter Overture were going to be representing the light radiating from the Holy Sepulchre. I could listen to see if I heard it, and visualize the story the composer was trying to tell. Later, I knew that the catchy 4 note series repeated over and over in the Cello Concerto was actually the composer’s name transcribed into notes. There were treasures to find and I had a key in my lap to tell me what to look for!
Wikipedia had plenty of technical analysis of the pieces which didn’t make sense when I read them at dinner, but when we read it along with the music, we got it! It gave Hubbs and I plenty to talk about also –
“That was beautiful, did you like it?” “Yes, it was wonderful! Those instruments were amazing…” “Yes….”
“Wow, did you hear the part that was supposed to sound like light? The plucked violin strings were perfect!” “Yes, and I can see why that second piece was described as the most difficult cello piece to perform.” ” Wasn’t it interesting to hear the similarities and differences between the Russian pieces?“
So the next time you go to a performance, a museum exhibit, a play, take 10 minutes, do a little bit of homework, and see how much your experience with the piece of art changes.
Here’s some more inspiration to help appreciate music (its long, but very inspiring!) Don’t you wish he could sit next to you at the symphony and explain it to you?