Monday, July 16, 2007

Postlude and Coda


It is now a little more than a week since the last concert of the Summer Tour, so all the sounds have faded to silence, replaced by new sounds of the moment; wind, rain, thunder, people, water. Music is so ephemeral. So much concentration and awareness and work and striving goes into making it, and then, at the very moment when the applause of appreciation breaks out, what is left? Nothing, but memories and reflections. And the continuing appeal of music is precisely because memories are so weak and ineffectual compared to the real thing. If we could recall it, conjuring memories that have the same passionate intensity as the actual music in the moment, there would be no need for future concerts.

Recordings are elaborate graspings at straws. The reality is more like the Buddhist sand paintings. So much effort and detailed work to produce elaborate beauty, in the full knowledge that it will all be swept away, nothing left. It's good to accept it that way, since in the end it is true of all life. "We are such stuff as dreams are made on" as Prospero has it.

But there are the memories, and persisting mementos. For instance, through the generosity of the wonderful players of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra I now have a biography of a Florentine Goldsmith, a small metal angel, a fantastic dish, several eaten passion-fruit (so ugly inside) and a very large assortment of slightly misnamed pasta, which I have already merrily embarked upon eating.

What a pleasant life it was! A leisurely breakfast carefully timed to be just before check-out time, then a drive through wonderful scenery - very rich and healthy looking this year after so much rain in early spring - arrive at a new, highly individual, location. Then check in, check out the concert site, take a compulsory snooze, (such a crucial professional responsibility) try to remember how the music goes, get dressed, and go to the concert. Crack a few jokes, conduct a really wonderful orchestra, then dash out round the tent to watch the end of the fireworks. A little bit of chat, maybe a glass of wine - off to bed and repeat nine more times.

We were lucky with the weather for the most part. It was a shame to lose the chance to play outdoors on the fourth of July, and for the last concert in Stowe, but some brave brave souls outdid the weather for the sake of art at Three Stallion Inn in Randolph, and things were almost too perfect in Quechee, Grafton, Manchester, and Chittenden. Vermont seems to be in a different climatic zone from the rest of the US at the moment, but a little chill in the air was a small price to pay for being spared the oppressive heat of other places.

This whole thing was such a great time for me, and I am so glad I had the chance to be a part of it all. So I sign off from this sequence of blogging by thanking all concerned - audience, musicians, management, sponsors, for letting me have such a terrific time right here in my home state.