Monday, September 15, 2008

A Good Cry

Theresa surprised me with an early birthday gift, tickets to the San Francisco Symphony. These tickets were to witness Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony play the most influential and important music score of all time, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Opus 125, Choral.

When I first saw the tickets I was in a little shock since I have waited years for the full 9th with Choral to arrive in San Francisco. It is the only piece of music that can change any mood I may be in to a mood of feeling powerful, hopeful and mostly inspired. I have only heard this piece from recordings and hearing it live has been a dream of mine for quite some time.

I think seeing my reaction to the tickets really surprised Theresa. I do not think she fully understand what those tickets represented for me. What shocked me about my reaction was how nervous I felt to actually witness what my head had manifested as an unobtainable fantasy. My hopes and expectations were so high, I suddenly felt a tremendous amount of anxiety that the reality of the performance wouldn't come close to my fantasy.

That evening, Theresa first took me to the Market Grill for dinner which is only a few blocks from Davies Hall. We had a nice meal and a great ongoing conversation which calmed my nerves a little. Seems funny that I would feel so much anxiety over a symphony performance since for me I am usually less than enthused to attend such an event.

We arrived to the hall early to listen to the pre-performance music talk by Associate Conductor James Gaffigan. James talk broke down the 9th to explain it in layman's terms what it all meant. He was very animated as he was very informative about the history of Beethoven's life, his state of mind while writing this score, the responses from the critics and general population of the time and finally how influential this particular score was for almost every composer that followed.

Theresa and I thoroughly enjoyed James's talk but it did have a negative affect on my anxiety level. I was now more anxious then ever after listening to James's very motivating talk about this iconic score. When the performance finally started, all my anxiety shed away as I experienced my long awaited dream come into full fruition.

By the time the fourth movement, Ode to Joy, was performed, I was so completely saturated with emotional uplifting that I could not hold back my tears. The experience of listening to this live far exceeded my expectations or fantasies. Normally when I am bawling in a public place, I would feel extremely paranoid and self conscious but looking around the theater I was not the minority of emotional breakdown but more part of the majority. When the performance ended in the dramatic way that the 9th does, the patrons of this unbelievable witnessing of this iconic music score stood up and cheered, clapped and whistled for 15 minutes straight. My arms were burning from clapping for such a long time. I just could not stop since the energy in the room felt like a high I knew I probably would never feel again.

Once we filed our way out of the hall, Theresa kept asking how much did I enjoy the performance and if it met my expectations. The odd thing was I could not answer her. I was in some sort of shock. I guess this is where the term speechless came from. An emotion I have never felt before and will not forget anytime soon.

In short, Theresa did pretty dang good with this years B-Day gift and you probably could decipher by this blog entry, I enjoyed myself thoroughly and will never forget what I witnessed and what I felt on this very special night.

1 comment:

Theresa said...

I had just as much fun and created great memories! I didn't realize you were nervous about it! Cool now, eh?