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Magical Rollercoaster

When I was a little girl and turned five, my parents took me to a piano teacher at a music school. The teacher tested my rhythm and ear and did not find me to be particularly gifted. My parents were devastated! How was this possible? Both are professional violinists and their little girl did not show any signs of musical genius! Feeling sorry for my parents, the softhearted teacher started digging a little deeper and asked me some more questions hoping to find a spark of something to justify spending time on my music education. She asked me if I liked music and when was the last time I went to a concert. I shared with her that I went to a concert of the Moscow Philharmonic and I saw a big organ on stage and this organ was a facade of a beautiful enchanted castle and behind it there were beautiful princesses and princes and magnificent gardens…

Rob and I attended the final concert of the San Antonio Symphony’s 2013 season-it was Mahler’s Third Symphony. Sebastian Lang-Lessing appeared on stage and announced there was some good news and some bad news. The good news was we are about to hear one of the most beautiful symphonic works ever written and the bad news was it is also the longest- 90minutes long. I closed my eyes to allow the magic to begin…. “Fasten your seat belts” said the conductor of my imaginary train, “this ride will take approximately 90 min, try to not look down, relax, do not make sudden moves, let us serve you and enjoy your trip”. The train conductor raised his magic wand and we fell into the unknown dimension, dark, cold, inescapable, final. Brass players announced death, walking in procession in a steady bit of sorrow drums. It is black, desperate and hopeless, the brass rules in its cold metallic glory…

Once I adjusted to the darkness, suddenly… we took an unexpected roller coaster-worthy rush up and into Hollywood film making sets, and here it is! Look to the left! marching gnomes from the Wizard of Oz! Look to the right… it is Beauty and the Beast in rehearsal; Look, look he steps on her dress and she trips! Ha-ha-ha!!!! Look there, there! Kids are marching just like kid-solders from Carmen with their wooden muskets and funny hats; yes we are in France or on the set… Who cares! Then, Miss Violin appears from nowhere and takes me by the hand and leads in a luscious waltz across the sophisticated landscape of Cote d’Azur covered with twinkling lights of a warm summer night. I waltz with her, weightless, young, carefree, flying from one red roof to another in one gracious movement! I feel like Ginger Rogers in her beautiful white chiffon dress with wavy blond hair blowing in the wind…

It is serene and beautiful, we are in the stern northern landscape of Irish hills, I can see all the way to the horizon. This is beauty worthy of the gods. Warm folk melodies growing out of the earth warms me from inside-out. It feels safe internally pure and infinitely indestructible. Then, without any warning! Waterfalls crush the earth and sky opens and riders on gold horses suddenly appear. They gallop around in their blindingly shiny armor with the majestic sound of thousands of golden fanfares! The earth is opening and waves of the internal ocean swallow everything at once. It is over! Everything is over…! Then, we take a sharp turn and arrive into the spring gardens of Italy with thousands of exotic birds showing off their beauty and singing their beautiful songs. Harps and violins engage in seductive conversation over a fragrant and sensual Mediterranean landscape, it is breathtakingly beautiful once again!

This journey took me through all aspects of life: beauty, death, fear, admiration, love, hope, tragedy and comedy. This is monumental work inspiring a lot of theoretical analysis of why and how did he did things the way he did it. The best part is after he gave this symphony a birth it is mine now, I might read it differently, I see there my life and things that are relevant to me. I believe this is what great works of art are supposed to do; it has to have an ability to be relatable for generations to come, like you and me and many others. Well, do you want to know how this 90 minute long train-ride ends? It does not end, it moves to the realm beyond human comprehension. This kind of journey cannot be brought to a trivial stop. The warm gold glow of light consumes everything and it grows and there is no end. The lines of everything vanish and it is you or I, or it is our essence that rises into this light and it is the only end possible-this is the beginning!

I hope I did not let my first piano teacher down after all…

11 years ago Comments Off on Magical Rollercoaster