Gershwin & Gatsby


A recent trip to see the National Symphony Orchestra has rekindled an interest in classical music, so when the Albany Symphony Orchestra announced tomorrow’s program featuring a Gatsby-inspired bit of Gershwin, I jumped at the chance to attend (even if Gershwin is not exactly ‘classical’ in the traditional sense). Many moons ago, I actually played with the Albany Symphony Orchestra for one of their concerts, sitting beside my teacher and mentor, Gene Marie Green. She taught me everything I knew about the oboe – and it was enough to get me into the Empire State Youth Orchestra, and a few substitute appearances in Albany and Schenectady.

There’s something very powerful about listening to a piece of music played live and uninterrupted from start to finish, something lost in today’s haste-prevents-waste world. A piece of music is a journey, not to be disturbed or heard in snippets or increments. The only way to see the journey through is to start at the beginning, continue through the middle, and last until the very final note reverberates into silence. It’s too bad so many start fidgeting after only five minutes in. Anything beyond the duration of a commercial break is deemed long-winded. But that won’t stop my enjoyment tomorrow, it will only hinder theirs. I won’t mind the candy-unwrapping or seat-shifting. I will listen to the music, I will hear the words of Fitzgerald, and I will be in heavenly abandon.

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