A text from Matt A., sent from across the room in the middle of rehearsal, September 2009: “This piece = my favorite!”
To be honest, I wasn’t wild about Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms at the time. I could appreciate it, for sure, but most of it isn’t exactly conventionally beautiful, and there were moments during the fugue of the second movement that made me want to put a screwdriver through my face. It didn’t help that the concert series was smack-dab in the middle of med school interview season and I just wanted to go home to my husband of, what, five days.
But I’m pretty easily influenced by the people I love. I think that it was largely due to Matt’s overwhelming enthusiasm for Symphony of Psalms that I gave the symphony a fair shake. And now I can say with certainty that it’s one of my favorite pieces and that, like a favorite story or place, I love it more every time I return to it.
So now I’m in real trouble. When the Philadelphia Singers presented me with the opportunity to sing this beloved piece with the Philadelphia Orchestra on the stage of the Kimmel Center, how could I say “no”? Even if it’s the weekend before two finals (reproduction and endocrinology)? Well, if I fail out of med school, at least I’ll go out in a blaze, with Stravinsky and Beethoven driving the flaming vehicle. (BTW, the second movement has grown on me, but the third is still my favorite–it’s a mixture of peace and excitement, and it makes me think of summer.)
Tonight will be my first time ever performing Beethoven’s Ninth. (My German…well, let’s just say it leaves something to be desired.) I have a hunch that, after this post, many assume that I don’t have a spiritual bone in my body. There’s a tender passage in the middle of the symphony that roughly translates to: “Do you bow down, millions?/ Do you sense the Creator, world?/ Seek Him beyond the starry canopy!/ Beyond the stars must He dwell.” I don’t have a good comprehension of a God, but Beethoven’s is evident in the texture of the music. It’s transcendent. I could get to know Beethoven’s Creator.
Me with two of the gents who led me down this awful road of believing I could have life outside med school, Tanglewood 2009:
One of them just took Step 1, the other is about to take the MCAT. They’re both (frustratingly/inspiringly) brilliant.
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My posts have been pretty infrequent recently. The last month has been uniquely both personally challenging and fulfilling…but my only real disappointment is that I really like endocrine and repro, and I wish I had more time to devote to learning them. I’ll get back in the swing of things after Monday. Wish me luck!