Gratitude for slow movements

This post originally appeared here on my other blog.

So, it’s been a while. The remnants of Hurricane Patricia have meant a very rainy day for Houston, so after a concert with Mercury was over in the afternoon, I came home and got into comfortable clothes ASAP.
I am so happy to be playing with Mercury this year. The rehearsals, the people, the wonderful music, and the concerts are the highlights of every month.

Among the repertoire we have performed so far are two double concerti by Bach. One is for two violins and one is for violin and oboe. When I was first beginning to get into music, around age 11 or 12, I LOVED listening to these wonderful pieces of music. I had a CD of Hilary Hahn performing these pieces and I listened to it so much it began to skip. A few years later I discovered recordings of these pieces on baroque instruments at the library in Baltimore and fell in love all over again. I also really enjoyed listening to Haydn string quartets and Mozart symphonies. My dad had a large study full of scores and I would follow along in one while listening to its recording. I dreamt longingly for the day I would get to perform these works. The realization that the day is here, that I am now doing what my 13-year-old self wanted so intensely is truly beyond description.image
When we began rehearsals for the violin and oboe concerto for when we performed it back in August and then again when we began rehearsals for the double violin concerto, I was transported back to the following scene when we played the slow second movements:
Peace, enveloping me as I sat at the foot of my bed, listening to these sounds come out of the CD player that was set up in the closet. My backpack was a few feet away, and there was homework that was waiting for me. But it could wait longer. I wanted to forget about the awful things people had said to me that day and the feeling of powerlessness and loneliness I experienced daily at my school, Parkville Middle. Listening to the solo lines support, console, converse with, fall away from, and come back to each other was like therapy for me because it gave me hope of finding friendship- friendship like the beautiful relationship Bach created between the solo instruments. I came to Maryland at the beginning of my 8th grade year, and I was teased and tormented almost relentlessly at my new school because of the way I dressed, my unkempt hair, and my shyness. Music was a refuge. I began to love practicing and listening to music, especially baroque, for reasons I’ve written about before. Those slow movements- I’d listen to them to help me fall asleep and when I came home from school. They provided hope and peace at such a turbulent time in my teenage years, and now, many years later and all that angst behind me, I’m still reminded very powerfully of the calm that washed over my heart every day when I play in the orchestra for these pieces.

Another emotion that creeps in is gratitude. Gratitude for the support I had then from my parents and wonderful viola teacher, gratitude for where I am today and for Who has orchestrated every detail of my life, gratitude to have found meaningful friendship with many wonderful people, and gratitude even for the troubled times in my past, because without those times, I wouldn’t have fallen so deeply in love with music, with baroque music… with those slow movements.image(Photos from Mercury’s Facebook page)