Here Jayne Bodner tells of her relationship with music in general and specifically with the symphony that was streamed in the Theater on January 7. An earlier post called “A film score without the film” is also about this symphony. Here Jayne explains what this music means to her personally and tells of the smile on her face when she learned it was scheduled as the first Music Video of 2016
I came by my fondness for classical music in my childhood. Sundays started with church, then a big breakfast made by my father, on to clean-up, reading the papers, and playing in our rooms. Early afternoon, we had a formal dinner of chicken, biscuits, gravy, creamed carrots, in the dining room, I would be still in my Sunday dress and my younger brothers in their white shirts, ties, and Brylcreme. Then it was nap time.
And, all through the day, my father had classical music playing on his prized stereo, set on a sideboard in the dining room, handily in the center of our apartment.
During the week, I was hearing the same kind of music, as background to the cartoons shown on TV. From those cartoons with ‘their’ music, I had the idea that there should be stories with such music. So on Sunday afternoons, during that nap time, I listened to the music and made up my own stories for the music my father had playing . . .
I carried that acquired appreciation of classical music into adulthood. And, about 10 years ago, I heard the Shostakovich’s Symphony #11 for the first time, performed by a full orchestra, with a conductor who came out to introduce the piece by telling us the story within it. (Vindication – I knew there were stories in that music!)
The conductor said the symphony was about the aborted 1905 Russian Revolution, an attempt to pull the czar’s attention on to hearing and helping his people. (I realized, as the conductor spoke, that I had a pop culture visual for that historic tragedy in the 1st third of the movie ‘Dr. Zhivago’.)
Here is my paraphrasing of what the conductor said – the first movement of the symphony evokes the horrific, barren cold, the starving, despairing people, the hopeless seeking.
The second movement starts off with the people coming into the grounds of the Czar’s Winter Palace to plead for help from their Father. The second movement ends with the arrival of the czar’s soldiers, on foot and on horseback, filling the alleys and roads, blocking the people’s escape. The Czar’s response begins and ends in slaughter.
The third movement is a lament on that violence, based around a Russian revolutionary funeral march titled “You Fell as Victims”.
The last movement is of frozen calm remaining, and the building rage and despair, poised to become something else. This last movement is meant as a foreshadowing of the 1918 Russia Revolution, and it is so easy to feel it in the music. . .
Fast-forward to soon after we moved to Medford Leas in June of last year. Powered by my childhood Sundays, my husband and I started attending the Music Video concerts on the Medford campus right away. And, in a conversation with the two residents who make the Music Video Thursdays happen, I confessed my love of classical music, my lack of formal education in same, and my most recent favorite piece, the Shostakovich 11th.
Forward six months, and you would not believe the big smile on my face when I saw the announcement for the Music Video selections for January of 2016! They were starting with ‘my’ Shostakovich #11!
What a wonderful consideration. And, also, a good example of the relationships and richness of experiences here with our new neighbors.
Postscript: The Music Video program offers classical music the first three Thursday evenings and Jazz the remaining Thursday(s) of each moth. The music selected is so well chosen by the two residents running the program, the performers are consistently top-drawer, and the camera work an art in itself. You are able to hear the music and clearly see the work of the individual musicians better than you possibly could with the best seats in the most auditorially exceptional concert hall.