When I awoke late Sunday morning the air in my room was curiously eerie and mass-less but at the same time it felt dense as if I was under water. The night before I fell asleep listening to Schubert's Unfinished and its opening still echoed in my head as I was getting ready. It took me a while to realize that the strangeness in the air is exactly what I feel whenever I hear the opening theme of the symphony. The music to me suggests anticipation of something uncertain. It is a vibrant vacuum that is about to pull in something and that something could be anything in the world. On the bottom of Schubert's three-level musical structure the basses echo the opening of Beethoven's 5th, calling upon the great composer whose persona and legacy had inspired him from a very young age. The recording I listened to was conducted by Lorin Maazel, a true maestro I adored all my life and whom I will miss tremendously, the news of his passing was released that very Sunday morning.
Recounting my memories from the three summers I spent on his magnificent farm in rural Virginia I realized again how much of a mentor he was for us rather than "just" a maestro. I will never forget what it was like to look up at the moment of Mimi's death in La Bohéme and see him in tears or to feel that incredible and liberating excitement during An American in Paris as he lead the ensemble with a huge smile and some of the most elegant conducting I have ever experienced on stage. Working with him I never felt commanded but engaged and appreciated. His eyes and hands communicated with every member of the orchestra in a way that one always had an urge to do their best. His passing is an incredible loss to the musical community and the void he left will never be filled.
Some recent events made the passing of the maestro even more tragic and difficult to deal with. I simply cannot understand why for selfish and in now way just reasons people cause so much pain to each other and those non-humans who are responsible for thousands in grief have not even the desency to come forth and show their face.
To all who mourn today: