We had to leave the lake early yesterday in order to be home in time for a concert at Heinz Hall. Leaving wasn’t easy since it was almost 70 degrees and a perfect day to work in the garden. We had tickets for the Mozart Requiem, and a chance to hear the Pittsburgh Symphony with the Mendelssohn choir is just too good to pass up. Even my partner (the Wayne Newton/Eydie Gorme fan) (yuk) loves the Requiem ever since he saw “ Amadeus”.
The first half of the concert was a Beethoven violin concerto which made my arms and fingers tired just watching the violinist. He was amazingly talented, and wowed the audience into a standing ovation. People poured out into the sunshine of the courtyard at intermission, and basked in the warmth of an October surprise.
The second half of the program began with F. Murray Abraham reading a letter that Mozart wrote to his father, followed by Gregorian Chant by monks from St Vincent College, singing the beginning of the Mass for the Dead that my cousin and I sang almost every morning when we were in grade school.
(page 52 in the “Kyriale” as I remember). The choir and soloists also sang the “Laudate Dominum” which might be my favorite piece of Sacred Music. It was also the favorite of my Episcopal priest friend from London who was a few years younger than me, and who died three years ago. I think I first latched on to the music when it was announced that the US had begun the attack on Iraq, and NPR reported the bombing..then played sombre music all evening starting with the Laudate Dominum. I remember thinking about all the “collateral damage” that was happening during “Shock and Awe”…all the innocents who were suffering, while such gorgeous music was trying to soothe the rest of us.
The Requiem was of course magnificent…interspersed with chant, and poems…and the whole contemplation of the end. Somehow it’s always reassuring to me that the music will always live on…how people have had their lives enriched by musicians long before me….and still will long after someone else is tending my garden. Since it was never completed before Mozart died, the final fragment was presented unfinished, and the concert ended with “Ave Verum Corpus” which was sung very very softly as the lights dimmed, a bell tolled, and there was absolute silence for about 30 seconds. WOW.
Wild horses almost had to drag me indoors on a day like yesterday…but after such a glorious afternoon…I am really really glad I put down my trowel.