We were on our way home one day from a trip to the gym. I was the last to walk out of the building, talking to people as usual. It was truly a beautiful day. Yes, the heat was getting back up there, and the humidity was frying my hair, but the birds were active in the trees, and the clouds made just enough cover to give you shade and a breeze — but not depress you. I walked towards the van, and to my surprise, all the children had already been loaded into the van, and everyone was waiting for me to take my seat. My husband had made unusually good time.
As I opened the door to sit down, I fully expected to ask the kids what happened in childcare, listen to their responses and fill my husband in on how some of my friends were doing, but instead he smiled and pointed to the car radio. It was Symphony Hall on Sirius XM that we subscribed to once our first child was born, hoping to find a suitable alternative to radio with ads, news and all sorts of things that babies wouldn’t appreciate hearing.
Every once in a while, Symphony Hall will interview a musician who is currently writing music or playing music in some capacity. I remember one time tuning in to an interview where the artist was describing a recent composer’s music as, “ethereal, with a violin singing a beautifully haunting and encompassing melody.” Expecting a beautiful song, I then heard what I could only describe as screaming cats in an alleyway. Maybe I’m not cultured enough, but I failed to hear that beautifully haunting melody.
Today, my husband was particularity interested in an interview with Yo-Yo Ma about his new album, “Hope Amid Tears.” Now, for those of you who don’t know my pal Yo-Yo, to describe him as an “amazing cellist” is an understatement. He does more than just play the cello, as if a cello were nothing more than strings and wood. He has a way of introducing you to the cello as a potential new friend. When Ma plays, he brings out so many nuances and colors of the cello and makes the instrument come alive. If you have no idea what I am talking about, go to YouTube and search for “Bach Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major.” You’ll get some artists, and then you’ll see Ma somewhere in the list. Listen to someone else, and then listen to him. I guarantee you will hear, and possibly see, the difference.
In this particular interview, Ma was talking about how you can play — or even listen to — music at different times in your life and experience it in whole new ways. For example, he and his accompanist came together to play these Beethoven Sonatas as college students, as husbands, as fathers and as grandfathers, and they sound different at each stage of life. He began to talk about how music defines who we are at all the various steps and milestones of life. He described the music of the album as “a bottle of sunshine on a rainy day.” So, after you have done your initial YouTube search, search again for “Hope Amid Tears” and take in the sunshine no matter what clouds cover your day.