Mahler Speaks

Earlier this year, a colleague gifted me with tickets to the L.A. Philharmonic at the Walt Disney Music Hall. I was ecstatic, for they are one of the few symphonic orchestras to regularly perform flawlessly in public. The Disney Concert Hall, an architecturally sacred space for me, is equally flawless. The match is extraordinary.

Then, he told me the piece was Mahler‘s 9th Symphony. I took a deep breath and told myself I would take the opportunity to learn something new and be open to new experiences. It’s not that I don’t like Mahler…I just don’t know much about him. I’m only familiar with his first symphony, which I like very much…so I hope I’ll like his 9th just as well…although I’m certain he will have changed over his lifetime.

Then he tells me that Gustavo Dudamel is conducting. I instantly transcended. I had never before seen Dudamel conduct live. I had tried on numerous occasions to obtain tickets, but they were always sold out before I could get to them. I didn’t care if he conducted Ives or Schoenberg, I was going.

To say that night changed my life is a little extreme, but certainly accurate. I sat behind the orchestra and watched Maestro Dudamel’s face as though he were conducting me. The only research I’d done prior to the performance was to read the portion in the programme minutes before the concert began. Yet, I experienced the piece as though it were a living, breathing entity…a soul of its own. I not only conversed with Mahler and the piece, I also conversed with the Source of the music…along with Maestro Dudamel and the musicians. Three months later, I wrote a 6-page essay on that night’s impact on me…so great it was, it took that long to find the words. 

Since then, I have watched for opportunities to learn more about Mahler and listen to his music. When this documentary popped up on Netflix, I eagerly added it to my queue. So much of what I learned while experiencing his music, confirmed in this documentary, made me chuckle at this quote:

You want to know me? Listen to my music.

I wonder what I will create that will allow people to experience me long after I have transcended to a different form.


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