Thursday, September 29, 2005

classical radio and nostalgia

The 12 years I played violin in orchestras gave me a lot of things.  Not the least of them reasonable skill with the violin.  Also things like a sense of identity in adolescent years when that was hard to come by, good friendships, some of which I still maintain, and a free trip to Florida.  One benefit I certainly wasn’t expecting when I signed up at the wise age of 9 is something that I’ve really appreciated of late.  What I mean is a familiarity with a number of classical pieces.  Evidently the symphonic corpus is such that my 7-or-so years of playing legitimate orchestra music mean that if I keep my radio tuned to NPR classical I’ll run into an old friend (or enemy) fairly frequently.  Maybe it’s the sentimentalism I have mentioned in the past, but there is something comforting and perhaps beautiful about hearing a familiar passage and trying to remember exactly what it is and when I played it.  It’s like running into someone you haven’t seen in a while, or visiting a place you used to spend a lot of time at.  There’s a jolt of recognition, and then a frantic (often unsuccessful) mental search for the significance of it all.  And sometimes it catapults me mentally into an orchestra retreat near Lake Michigan, or a Youth Orchestra rehearsal with Mr Piipo telling us “you play like a grandma” and “that is Ludwig Von Cute.”  Or a snowy February afternoon in the Calvin rehearsal room, exchanging gossip with my stand partner in between movements.  And all these travels are happening as I’m waiting for a stoplight on Broad Street humming along with the second violin part of Mozart.

For similar thoughts about books, see another recent post.  I guess I am sentimental.

1 comment:

Morgan said...

I do the same thing with choir songs that I used to sing. My brain goes "Oh, I remember this. Was this my-yeah this was from Freshman year, and I sang that one part that goes way up, there it is! Oh man, and then we skipped and got doughnuts, and I used to think there was no way Anne and I could end up together, but she still flirted with me, and man, I used to be innocent, I remember that, now I'm just bitter, well not really I guess, I'm just trying to make a point or be funny, that curb seems close-CRASH!!"