Thursday, June 17, 2004

Did you ever...

really listen to classical music, especially Rachmaninoff?

I spent the day lost in a fog of music and thunderstorms that made my phone connection unstable. I kept getting cut off. But I listened to the music, really listened, and was transported to a place where emotions had touch, sound, taste, feel, and view. A storm raged outside the windows, lashing the deck with fury at being kept back for so long. Thunder exploded in bursts like roars of joy and exaltation while lightning, purple and white jagged tridents, split the steel gray sky and torrents of fresh ozone scented rain battered the dry ground. All the while Rachmaninoff with his lyric notes wound in and around a deeper more intense and darker background bass thunder, matching the story outside and inside me, coaxing and then ripping emotions to the surface where they were washed in the lash of chorded notes and pummeled with deep rumblings until I was washed clean and bright and new.

I don't know what made me choose Rachmaninoff or why I chose Mozart to follow, but the music I thought would help me focus on writing and the changing nature of my life changed me. I remember reading something by Laura Equivel, a story set in the near future when certain music is banned from public consumption because of the emotions and memories it triggers. Music is used only by trained professionals and only as prescribed by the medical conventions. Some music is outlawed completely and even the professionals are not allowed to listen to it alone or outside clinical constraints.

It always seemed strange to me that people who love new music (new age, hip hop, dance music, pop, rock, etc.) never took the time to really listen to classical music. Maybe they were afraid they would be changed. They were right. Music does change us, especially when it is more than background noise in elevators and on hold lines. The same notes I learned to play as a child, single simple notes, EGBDF, FACE, all of them, sharps, flats, naturals, and all the different times and paces, are just notes, simple, single notes that in the right framework and in the hands of a master can turn us inside out or spur our mental faculties to undreamed of heights. I guess that's why I love musicals so much, because life is better with a score. No words are needed, just the music.

When movies first came out, organists played special scores to go with the action on the screen, wringing tears and emotions, laughter and fear, and even amazement with the sound. The words didn't get in the way. There was only the music and the scenes unfolding before your eyes in a black and white world full of adventure, love, diversity, poverty, happiness, everything you could imagine. But always there was the music, weaving a spell in and around the scenes, and transporting you to another world that left you blinking and straining to see back in the bright sunlight outside the womb of the theater.

So today, and tonight, I bare my emotions and my thoughts and prepare the inner ground for a new day, a new life, a new way of working and writing, hoping the music will cast a spell on me and magically change my mundane words into something more, something as much like the music I love as it is possible.

The past is gone, a tear stained memory of what might have been, and the future is here, a lover reaching to take my hand. I accept.

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