Saturday, June 17, 2017

Inside the Music

Brahms showed up in my classical queue this morning,. Not just any Brahms but the Symphony No. 1 — which happens to be the first orchestral piece I played as last-chair string bass in the Central Kentucky Youth Symphony Orchestra. I had only started learning string bass a few months earlier and didn't have the hands for it, but I did my best to keep up with the runs and shifts.

My stand partner, Greg, helpfully penciled in "a la fakando" on a few of the more difficult sections, and fake it is exactly what I did. Every so often, Mr. Ceo, our fiery conductor, would scream "basses" and stare, it seemed like, straight at me. But I kept my head down and for the most part escaped humiliation.

Besides, it was worth it to be even a small part of such music: the swelling strings, the triumphant brass. In the heroic final movement, during the most lyrical sections, the basses only played pizzicato, but I put my heart and soul into every pluck.

This morning, walking and listening, I was back there again, not just listening to the music — but inside of it.

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