Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.
I Samuel 16:23
I get this. I understand why Saul would feel better after David played his lyre for him. I experienced something similar this week — minus the evil spirits, of course.
A Night At The Symphony
I went to the opening night of the Imperial Symphony Orchestra in our hometown earlier this week. It was a date night of sorts with my dad. He enjoys the music (my mom does not) so last year, we started attending the Symphony together. The theme was Spooky Symphony given the timing of the performance.
The Orchestra played several classic pieces from Mussorgsky, Wagner Saint Saens Schubert and Grieg. They included some more recent pieces as well — Jaws Suite by John Williams and the music from the Broadway musical, Phantom of the Opera. The finale was the Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Dukas.
For about an hour and a half I was lost in the music. The worries and stresses of the day faded into the background as the sights and sounds of the symphony carried me away.
I sped along with the Valkyries in Wagner’s Walkürenitt, imagined dancing skeletons in Saint-Seans Danse Macabre and ran from the trolls in Edvard Grieg’s Hall of the Mountain King. Those first two iconic notes seared into our consciences since 1975 sent me to the ocean anxiously looking for a Great White Shark. I was drawn into the poignant love story of the Phantom of the Opera. Finally, I imagined our beloved Mickey Mouse trying to corral those ever-multiplying brooms in the Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
Sights and Sounds
It wasn’t only the sounds of the symphony that mesmerized me. It was what I saw as well; a dozen or so bows drawn back and forth across the strings of the violins and cellos in a synchronized ballet, the delicate hands strumming the strings of a harp or the strong ones plucking the strings of a bass, the fingers moving as fast as they could on the woodwind instruments. I am always amazed at the variation of sounds the different instruments produce, sounds that are trapped within until they are in the hands of a musician.
The individual musicians were as diverse as the instruments they played. You could see the intensity of their concentration on their faces. You could tell when they too were swept away by the music. One gentleman in particular stood out in my mind. His face often lit up in a huge smile. Sheer joy. Watching him play the violin with such passion and joy transferred the experience to me. It was, indeed, a beautiful evening of sound and sight.
As my dad and I were leaving, we talked about how wonderful the performance was and which numbers we enjoyed the most. We were surprised at how quickly the time passed. We even shared how much we are looking forward to future performances.
The Power of Music
That evening at the symphony did a marvelous thing. It erased all of the worries, cares and stresses of our everyday lives and allowed us to escape into a beautiful, creative realm beyond ourselves. I forgot how tired I was from a poor night’s sleep the night before and how stressed I was from driving home from Orlando. I didn’t think about all of the things I needed to do. I didn’t think about politics or all of the negative things of this world. For that hour and a half, there was no sickness or sadness or pain.
I believe music is a gift from God. He is a creative God and we are created in His image. That means we too are creative. That is evident in our ability to build instruments to illicit all of the beautiful sounds we hear from musical instruments — even oboes, bassoons and bagpipes. Can you imagine a world with only one note, one sound? Can you imagine a world without music? I give thanks to God that we don’t have to.
How about you? Do you enjoy the Symphony? Is there a different type of music you prefer? Do you find music soothing to your soul? I encourage you to take some time this week and listen to some music — live if possible. It might just give you a bit of respite to recharge your soul.