Concert in the Park

I sat staring at the magenta sky and allowed the music of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra to wash over me like a wave of thick, creamy chocolate. I wriggled my toes in and out of the rich green grass of the lawn and shut my eyes from time to time when a particularly wonderful note was hit. Tchaikovsky, Wagner and Brahms lifted up and over the heads of the thousands of spectators reclining in silence to the beauty and wonder of the masters of music.

I’ve never heard the New York Philharmonic before. In fact, when asked if I wanted to go to the concert I hesitated, unsure as to whether I wanted to get lost in the crowds, search for a place to sit, buy food to eat, and potentially: get bored. The last time I went to the park to see a free concert I was a lot younger. My babysitter Pat took my sister and I to see Garth Brooks and all I remember of that experience was people walking on and across our blanket and Pat smoking like a chimney. Thankfully, I went with my better judgement and tagged along to see the music last night.
Rarely will a musical piece move me to tears. I work at a cabaret space in Manhattan and see quite a lot of live Jazz, Folk, World music, Classical and Alternative music. There have been a couple times in the two years I have worked there, that I have stopped what I was doing and just openly wept at the sound coming out of the musicians fingers/lips. I remember vividly when a folk group came in and a couple playing their fiddles were harmonizing and I could not keep the tears from rolling down my cheeks. Or, when a South Indian group came and played traditional Carnatic music and two violinists played as if making love to each other, I smiled and got teary eyed at the beauty of what they were saying with their music. 
It’s lovely when experiencing a piece through the lens of your own life moves one to tears. Music which can transcend language and time and even cultural differences, can create a story that I can watch in my head and cherish on such a personal level, that the hopes of trying to describe that experience to someone else is all but impossible. Yet, there is a shared understanding when I look at a perfect stranger and watch as that person is probably going through their own version of the same ecstasy. 
I am so glad I went to that concert last night. Plus, the final cherry on that sundae was the firework show at the end. So awesome. And free?! New York: you can really rock. 

July 17, 2012 at 4:26 pm by Natalie Allen