Wow, last night took me by surprise. I got free use of a box at the glorious Royal Albert Hall in London, which hosts the annual BBC Proms - a famous classical music festival now in its 119th season- and decided to take my children - twins 10 years, and an 8 year old daughter.
I like listening to classical music occasionally on the radio. I play classical piano and flute. My three children all study piano and my ten year old daughter is an aspiring rock chick guitarist. But playing classical music is an altogether different thing to actually listening to an orchestra play for any length of time. I remember being taken by my parents to a classical music concert as a child and being so bored that I kept willing my father to want to leave at half-time. Happily he took his cue..........
And so it was with trepidation that I took my three children along last night, but what a delight it turned out to be. A chamber orchestra was playing Schumann's symphony No.2 in C major. It was as if the music was caressing me. Listening to gorgeously played classical music felt like an almost (and unexpectedly) sensual experience.
Sure, there were things that tickled the kids humor. Like the violent body movements of the violinists, all leaning over as they bowed and body swerving to the music. And like when there was a pause in a symphony, but it wasn't the end. So nobody applauded. "Why aren't they clapping?" my youngest whispered, confused. I explained that it hadn't finished. In the silence all that could be heard was a lot of coughing ricocheting around the circular hall. And so, having caught on, my children decided to join in the cacophony with some of their own serious throat-clearing..........!
For the second half they pulled a glorious and impossibly long grand piano onto the stage. There was to be a soloist, Paul Lewis, accompanying the orchestra in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 25 in C major.
What can I say? His performance took my breath away......................the lightness of his touch as his fingers skimmed across the keyboard made the music feel like liquid velvet. I found myself closing my eyes and swooning...................
To think that I almost hadn't wanted to go and that the children wouldn't enjoy it..................Just goes to show that one needs to grab new experiences in life and give them a go. I shall try to hold that thought with me, today and all days..........
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