Monday, March 16, 2015

Two Performances

As a young man I had the privilege to see a lot of classical music performed. What stands out to me are two performances of opposite nature and audience response.

The first was a composer unknown to me, conducting his own work. I was just a kid, but I remember him as a huge, angry man. He led the orchestra in some very discordant, violent music. He stomped his feet, snorted, and actually spat.

In those days, Cincinnati was a very genteel city with sharp social distinctions. When you attended Music Hall, you dressed for the occasion.

After this disturbed man ceased his violent, jerky gestures, he stormed off the stage. There was no applause at all! Only once have I witnessed such rejection.

Years later, at an afternoon performance, I saw the exact opposite take place. A young lady who was to play a piano solo walked onto the stage, wearing a beautiful off the shoulder gown. She looked like Gail Russell with the same shy manner. I don't remember what she played--something by Chopin perhaps.

From her first appearance, there was a feeling of sympathy and love for her. You could feel it in the air. She completed her piece to thunderous applause. People came forward and brought bouquets to line the stage. What I most remember was her shocked expression, as if to say, "I wasn't that good."

Disgust and love on the same stage. In this age of angry, warning preachers, and often laymen, how I wish we could have quiet presentations of the Word. Let God speak. Leave your anger, real or feigned, at home.

Many of the conflicts that I hear are inside the person ranting about them. Like the meek and modest lady pianist, concentrate on the Composer.

No comments:

Post a Comment