Several years ago, I received an advertisement in the mail for Powell Symphony Hall, the home of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Although I have a musical background, I’ll sheepishly admit that the list of classical pieces scheduled for the symphonic season intimidated me. I could not discern the difference between Debussy and Vivaldi! N’Sync or Backstreet? No problem. Britney or Christina? Piece of cake! But classical composers? Mulligan, anyone?
Culturally and musically, I felt inferior. I wasn’t able to explain the background and musical styles of the listed composers, but I did have a picture of what “going to the symphony” looked like in my idyllic little brain. Maybe it stems from my obsession with the 1920s, but my romantic imagination concocted a daydream of dressing up in a beautiful cocktail dress, walking down Grand Boulevard in a fur coat, and sipping champagne as crescendos of violin concertos rose through the theatre.
Needless to say, I looked a little more closely at that flyer. And do you know what? Not only were classical concerts offered, but also full-length movies with live orchestral performances! In fact, that year, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra performed live while showing The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring. Being one of my husband’s favorite movies, I bought tickets immediately.
Although I didn’t have the expensive fur coat of my dreams, the rest of the experience was just as romantic as I had imagined. The elegance of Powell Symphony Hall alone was enough to transport me back to when the theatre was first built, in the 1920s. Additionally, listening to live musicians and choirs perform gave me a whole new appreciation for the brilliance and talent needed to compose such breathtaking music.
Since that first experience, I was hooked. And while I still do not consider myself a connoisseur of classical music, I’m more interested than ever to hear new pieces and composers.
In these modern times, we are so programmed to constantly watch and look for visual stimuli; advertisements, action scenes, and phone screens. Attending a concert at the symphony reminded me that once in awhile, we should put away the screens, take in our surroundings, and listen to the music.
If you find yourself curious about going to the symphony in your area, consider the following:
Start with a movie: Many symphonies offer movies with live orchestral performances. See Singin’ in the Rain, Casablanca, or Lord of the Rings! It’s a movie experience like no other.
Consider composers: If you like Star Wars, E.T., Jurassic Park, or Harry Potter, then you are familiar with the musical scores of John Williams. Many symphonies schedule concerts that highlight specific composers. If nothing else, start with a John Williams concert, you won’t be disappointed.
Go for a series: One year, my husband and I bought tickets for three summer shows. The tickets were less than one might pay for one show at a major concert venue and we instantly had three date-nights planned!
Do you have a favorite composer or piece? Enlighten us!
“Music is the mediator between the spiritual and sensual life.” ~Ludwig van Beethoven
~Think on These Things~