August 25th, 2018, marked the 100th birthday of Leonard Bernstein. To me, he was a miraculous comet that traveled this universe and gave untold pleasure to millions. A superb Conductor, a marvelous pianist, and an exciting composer, all in 72 years on this planet.
My wife and I were driving back from shopping when we heard on the radio the beginning of the Beethoven 3rd symphony, the “Eroica”. The performance was Leonard Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic. We arrived at our Condo, packages in the back, and Susan said, “don’t turn the radio off”. We listened as the first movement went on and ended…we did not stir. We were both mesmerized by this soulful, strong, and amazing performance. Every nuance was clear. One could hear every instrument. Dynamics were subtle, tempi just perfect. Every section of the orchestra heard, every counter melody discerned, not only by me, but the untrained ear of my wife. Together we sat in the car and listened another thirty five minutes. We listened to the 2nd, 3rd, and final movement of this masterpiece of a symphony. When it was over, we continued to just sit in the car for many moments. We never felt closer to each other. The music had brought us together and our minds and bodies were as one.
We did not loose the sensation of our mutual listening experience for a long time. I told Susan, I must write about this experience. I would like to suggest that you try experiencing a particular work with someone. This work for a starter. Your spouse, your friend, an acquaintance. I would like you to share with someone, but if this is not possible, listen yourself. But listen, in the quiet. Eyes closed, all your senses aware. You will hear the music as you have never heard it before. I recommend this particular performance. I also recommend listening to the 3rd Piano concerto of Beethoven performed by Rudolph Serkin, with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic. You will experience an unusually sensitive and marvelous performance as these two giants of the music world combine their talents to create a once in a life time performance. The idea of listening with someone to become closer to that individual in mind and spirit is such an inviting thought to me. So positive, and so meaningful in relationships. We live in a negative atmosphere, there are so many challenges. Take time for listening. Really listening. Take time to absorb the vibrations of the music, and if you are sharing this experience, know that the individual you are sharing it with, is experiencing these same vibrations and bringing you closer in mind and body to each other. Sharing something special is very special. It really doesn’t have to be music. A work of Art. A starry night. A work of nature. So many things to share and understand who we are. It can be so comforting to share.
Being a musician, I experienced this performance with my wife, and in so doing, we grew closer. More understanding. Age, time did not mean anything when you are in the presence of beauty. Aging. Betty Davis said “Getting old ain’t for sissies”. We do have many challenges. We live in a world of medical advances. With all these advances I still believe in the mind, the brain, the body and keeping them well and healed with psychological well being. I also believe we must hold on to whatever independence we have for as long as possible.
Enjoy the moment. We can dream of the past and future, and we can bring them both into the present. Live life fully, and please, laugh a lot. Humor, smiling, nothing like a good belly laugh. Elbert Hubbard said “Don’t take life to seriously, you will never get out of it alive”.
I wish all health, happiness, peace and learning.
Peace and Joy, Maestro David