from a musical journey that altered the perception I have of music and, perhaps more importantly, the percipience I have of myself.
A few months ago, I was introduced to the musical genius of Gustav Mahler. I was taken aback by the way his music touched me, moved me and the joy that it brought to my soul. The profound effect that it had on me was, however, inexplicably isolating; moreso, in some ways, than the other eccentricities that keep me balancing just on the cusp of the world around me.
I had a burning desire to share the brilliance and excitement of it. I found, though, that I could no more explain the way it touched my spirit than I could the way that words and images fill me up. After a time, I spoke of it less and less and held the wonder of it inside myself like a caged bird. I spent many nights lying in bed thinking of it and praying that when the morning dawned, comprehension of its magnitude would become evident.
I made plans to attend The Cleveland Orchestra for their performance of Mahler’s First Symphony and thought I would go mad waiting for the day to arrive. Having listened to tens of dozens of hours of his compositions, I was, in my mind, prepared for what I would experience; I wasn’t even close.
From the first bars, I was riveted. The music soared through the grand concert hall, covering me with a power that I simply wasn’t expecting. Hearing it performed live was like nothing I could have imagined. It moved me so esoterically that I wondered, at times, if I would lose control completely and be asked to leave. I was overcome with emotion and was left, by the end of the concert, beautifully, wonderfully, unimaginably drained.
For a time, I was unable to speak more than a few words about it as it swirled and churned inside me, weaving itself into the very core of my being in a way I didn’t realize was possible. At some point during this time, I was reminded that to fully understand music is to have no real understanding of it at all. It is its own language and changes even as it stays the same.
I ascertained that sharing the overwhelming impact it had on my life was irrelevant for even if I could put my thoughts into words, the intimacy I shared with the music was mine alone. I was, in that singularly, enlightening moment, set free from my own expectations. I knew then that I didn’t need anyone’s understanding of my perception of the music or how it moved me or touched me or sustained me.
I was, in an instant, irrevocably changed for the better and for that, I am thankful.
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise ~ Psalms 98:4