‘Music …stands in a special region, unlit by any star but its own, and utterly without meaning … except its own.” – Leonard Bernstein, The Joy of Music
I often ask myself as I grow older, would I rather be blind or deaf?
To be honest, I would rather be neither, but if I had to choose… now that’s a conundrum.
Imagine not being able to see the face of someone you love, or a beautiful painting, or the colourful panoply of a garden you have created with your own hands.
Can you envision a world without being able to read the written word or stare longingly at a photograph which has so much meaning for you? To linger for a while as you take it all in.
I shudder at the thought of not being able to see.
On the other hand, I can’t fathom a world devoid of sound. A pervasive stillness that serves as your silent partner in life. A quietness and tranquility which holds you in its unyielding grip.
Deafness with the resultant enveloping silence.
Again, I quiver at the thought as I can’t imagine not being able to listen to music.
Without sight, you can still rely on your fervent imagination or memories and paint glorious word pictures. And you can still listen to music. But with complete hearing loss comes a life devoid of what my friend refers to as “pure joy.”
That is how she describes the music in her life. It is not about triggering memories of a well-spent youth; it is simply for the joy it brings her.
I have to agree.
Recently I was channel-surfing, when I stumbled upon Renee Fleming in the role of Violetta in Puccini’s opera’s La Traviata.
Amami Alfredo, amami quanto’io t’amo. Love me Alfredo, love me as I love you.
Immediately, I am transported into another place. I smile from ear to ear, listening to her singing effortlessly with her notes soaring into the stratosphere and into my heart. I feel joyful, notwithstanding the tragic ill-fated love of which she sings.
I feel the same way when I listen to the penultimate movement of Mozart’s 27th Piano Concerto. When Vladimir Ashkenazy caresses the piano keys with his artistic brilliance, I am again transported to a joyful place. I can understand why Beethoven coined his ninth symphony the Ode to Joy.
And, as Christmas approaches, the harmonious voices of the all male Chor Leoni’s Yuletide Fires fills me with delight.
But it is not just operatic or classical music that moves me. I feel the same way about other genres, as illustrated in a blog I wrote during a time of transition.
…I would lie supine on my couch, listening to Leonard Cohen’s comforting words reassuring me there is a crack in everything –that’s how the light gets in. It was as if the great Canadian poet and I had a forbidden, nocturnal tryst. An impenetrable melodic cocoon which washed over me and protected me from the harsh world outside.
Ah, the healing power of music.
Now, Zoomers, here is your chance to experience the joy of music locally.
Please join me Thursday, Nov. 28 from 3–5 p.m. as the White Rock/Surrey Chapter of CARP welcomes maestro Bramwell Tovey, music director of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra to White Rock.
Tovey is one of the most versatile musicians in the world, as well as an award-winning conductor, composer and pianist.
RSVP to Denice at 604-538-5778. aJust for the joy of it!
April Lewis is the local communications director for CARP, a group committed to a ‘New Vision of Aging for Canada.’ She writes monthly.