November 23,2010: Two tickets purchased for Beethoven’s 9th Symphony at Lincoln Center for Sunday March 13 th and I stated counting the days from that moment of purchase until this afternoon at 3:15.
I couldn’t stay for the rest of our ESWPN conference this morning.
Instead, I was packed, checked out of Albany’s Best Western (terrible) and was on my way to Paramus with a cold wind and coming sunshine. Yes, I did want to stay for the morning session with our NYS group and yes, I did feel guilty when I left, but I was propelled to get back to Tuvia, change, get into his car, nap and be ready to experience the ODE TO JOY live. I was prepared to cry with joy, to dance in my seat, to raise my body up with wild applause as the symphony ended, screaming for more.
I arrived at 11:30 and we were on our way to the City by 12:30 and once in the city, parked and sipping coffee in this great cafe right across from Lincoln Center.
Tuvia had seen Leonard Bernstein perform the 9th, once in Israel, once in this very hall, but he was always thrilled for another opportunity to be transported and wanted to share the joy experience with me.
We were so ready and I knew that I would not nod off no matter how much I needed a nap. It would not happen during the 9th.
I am not an expert on Beethoven or classical music and I don’t love everything but I have been listening to the 9th since I was in high school, then college and beyond but always on a record, a tape cassette, a CD, an iPod.
Today it was live…and...I didn’t feel the joy!
Tuvia was not familiar with this conductor or the National Choral Society or their orchestra. The conductor was older, frail and had trouble making his way to the podium. We watched him lead the chorus through two beautiful pieces. It was nice, I napped a bit, the appetizer.
Intermission. The stage hands set up for a smaller orchestra in front of the choral stands. Last Call. I pray I don’t nod off. Musicians and singers enter the stage and find their seats and instruments. House lights dim to black and the conductor raises his baton and…
It is a slow start…slow…slow…slow… start.
Tuvia tries to remain neutral but I’m not feeling the excitement either
The first movement drags. I want to jump out of my seat, race to the stage and grab the frail conductor, lift him gently and transform him into a baton and move the orchestra to passion. I want sweat passion but I remain in my seat and he holds his real baton gently as if he’s conducting a waltz
I hope that it will get better…
It does, sort of. The second movement is slow and our guy is perfect for this. He is gentle with the baton and the music. Beautiful…
But now, we move back to the dynamic stages of the symphony that prepare us for the joy section: orchestra…chorus… both together.
I am jumping out of my skin. JUMPING OUT OF MY SKIN in my head.
I hate this sweet, frail penguin man.
I turn to Tuvia and whisper, The 9th is still on my list of things we have to do.”
Tuvia smiles. “I promise to do a better job in checking the conductor next time.”
I need to finish this post and click to You Tube to hear Lennie conduct the 9th. I’ll bet he needed a shower every time he led his audience to JOY!