Nov 26, 2013

Thanks! An Encore Presentation. . .

I'm thankful for Musicians

As I began to write what I hope will be an annual Thanksgiving Day blog post, I re-read last year’s – my first. It appeared to contain some good thoughts, so I thought I’d put it out there again with a few minor annotations and edits.

Spiritual mentors agree that making a list of things for which we are thankful and grateful is a really good habit to develop. Even better, read this gratitude list to yourself every morning. . .before your day gets underway! From a musical standpoint, I personally don’t have to work too hard on this list. I love it all! Playing music and singing music, teaching music and listening to it – these are the great joys of my life.

Just as you might expect from our perspective here at The Discovery Orchestra, being able to listen to a vast array of music at the push of a button is something to indeed be grateful for. When I look at my smartphone and see that I can listen to anything – a really eclectic mix of music encompassing classical, jazz, folk, rock, pop, traditional, world, secular, sacred, orchestral, chamber. . .all on this small device I can hold in my hand, I am humbled and very thankful.

Of course, listening to a great orchestra in a live performance, such as the one I attended by the Mariinsky Orchestra on October 13, 2013 – what a privilege that is! And what a performance it was as Denis Matsuev, Maestro Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky blew us away with the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3. Here’s a YouTube performance with pianist Martha Argerich, the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra and Riccardo Chailly.

I would remind all of you classical music fans out there to take the time to thank performers who have touched you with their playing or singing. Really, it means a lot to us when you stop us backstage or on the street and say “Thank you! Your playing was so special.” Emails are likewise appreciated, and in this era of electronic communication – a handwritten note of thanks is highly prized.

But most of all, I guess I am incredibly thankful for the creators of music, the composers. So here we are again at Thanksgiving. How on earth do we say “Thank you” to a person, long deceased, who wrote a piece of music perhaps more than one-hundred years ago that absolutely moves us to the soles of our feet – causes us to weep, have goose bumps? How can we ever thank them? The only way we’ve come up with at The Discovery Orchestra is to help other people who haven’t yet had this experience to discover that they, too, can be so deeply moved by this music! Beethoven Symphony No. 7, Movement IV. . .now there’s one to be thankful for.