[Video link to 4th Mvmt in bio. I like this particular video because the conductor speaks to me and they include captions on the words of the poem, “Ode to Joy”].
Music is a faith that lives and moves us.
Sometimes listening to certain pieces at the right time, I can know love breathing inside all cells of my body. I’ve been esp moved by Beethoven, for in his life his father was an alcoholic who abused him as a very young boy (made him play piano standing up at all hours and beat him if he made an error even when he was very small), he had to support himself in his early teens because his dad couldn’t hold a job and yet the dad blamed Beethoven for not being a material success like Mozart, etc. etc. (there’s much more to his story) and it was all a big pile of shit and yet in his music he still heard and made beauty. And when you can tap into the creation of something like his body of work while also seeing the cruelty and injustice it came from, it’s an elevation of meaning for all of us to where I can’t help but cry at the transformative experience he’s offered. It’s as if he’s a magic crystal who magnified a small amount of light so that the rest of us could better see.
The fourth movement of the 9th Symphony kills me.
The strings start and it’s like they’re saying “this is life, this is what it’s all about, we stand up for the sorrow. We are the deep notes running through all,” but then the winds come in suddenly so airy—like a snub, like a “lighten up” [smiling to self because this specific reference has a personal significance]—and the juxtaposition between the two themes are as winds are arguing with the strings, not wanting to acquiesce because the winds are the privilege some have to initially ignore the sorrow. Because they can’t even make the sound sorrow makes inside itself without effort. So the winds play to their own sense of life which is that, “there’s no deep sorrows, there isn’t a battle humanity is waging with itself; I believe in the good in all, and it isn’t my part to understand anything beyond assumptions.” And the strings come back in and say “no. That isn’t it. That does not make the whole.” And they are calm and resonant, like a deep whisper, saying “outside of Time, all is goodness but inside of Time, rests the true story of the hearing and seeing into depths so to play Love for one another.”
I don’t think I will never be able to keep it together when the first of the theme notes of the fourth movement starts (about 3:24 in the above performance), after the strings and winds do their thing. Knowing he suffered so and from his creations he carried himself and us all into a revelation of meaning and a full expression of Life. That in deafness and inability to get over his father trauma, he tells his story (that is the story of all of us) eventually melting strings and winds until the voices can do nothing else but sing.
May we all have strings inside us so to hold space for playing such music for one another; may we all be winds capable of trying to hear notes we might not ourselves be able to play.