It may sting when we think about how much we'll miss attending live concerts for a while - but we can still cherish the memories we have from the past.
Whenever I hear Daphnis et Chloé, or most Ravel for that matter, my mind inevitably drifts back to Tanglewood last summer. It was my first Tanglewood experience, and first time taking in the unexpectedly stunning sights of western Massachusetts, the outdoor set-up littered with picnic blankets and families, the beautifully illuminated stage and, of course, a performance I can’t get out of my head.
Fifty minutes of Ravel felt like nothing - a magical moment suspended in time, my heart and soul wanting more from the shimmering quiet moments, the rises and falls, the raw power and beauty, and the cellos (what can I say, I’m biased towards cellos).
I think we all have those moments - live music that sticks to our memory like Velcro and becomes a part of us. I certainly have had a few Velcro moments. The Ravel at Tanglewood. The St. Petersburg String Quartet filling my high school auditorium with Borodin, leaving me with wide eyes and an open mouth. Meeting my father halfway between the 8 hours that separated our homes to see Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade played by a community orchestra to share the piece that first connected us both to classical music.
And you may also be feeling the current downside of these memories, the Velcro burn, if you will - the pangs of disappointment in cancelled concerts and suspended seasons. For now, we cannot sit on the edge of our seats, waiting for the next movement. We can’t experience the drama and passion, the patience and silence, even the occasional cough that makes live music what it is.
With each performance stuck in my mind, I think about the rest of the audience - hundreds of new friends filling the same concert hall, sharing in the thrill of a symphony or the magnetism of a piano performance. I think about the musicians, sharing what they love, honoring great composers and working together to give us these memories.
Especially now when we are feeling isolated, lonely and unsure, music still connects us. Those many new friends, wherever they may be, shared the same experience. And that is why we miss live performances so much now that they are paused - because the ones in our memories are stuck to us, unapologetically, and connect us to the rest of the audience, musicians and composers… and we want more.
We are forever connected by music. Though our tastes may differ, the love we feel deep in our souls is the same. Nothing can stop that. When the concert halls open, we'll celebrate and once again share in the memories that open our eyes and fill our hearts.