The knockout roses in the yard have been throwing out a few scattered blossoms. It seems early, but I am attempting to cast my fretting-cap into the wind and simply enjoy.
The last of the "Meet the Candidate" luncheons was held on Thursday. As usual, it was lovely, and I very much enjoyed meeting the conductor for this week's symphony performance. The luncheon was held in a stunning mid-century modern house in South Knoxville, and as we were driven up the steep, narrow, and winding gravel driveway I could not help but think of my former home in Hyde Park. The weather is better in Knoxville, but I don't miss my driveway at all. Seeing the house however did spark a few moments of almost-regret. There were many similarities between this house and my former house, and some differences too, but the similarities were enough to spark memories. After all, for a long time I had simply assumed that the Hyde Park house was my forever-home, and there had been a brief moment of insanity, shortly after George's death, when, discovering that the Hyde Park house was back on the market, I had considered buying it and moving back.
As I said, it was madness, and I am grateful that I did not succumb. I'm not convinced that I believe in forever homes anymore, if I ever really did. What I loved was the home we made together, not the place itself. I suppose that is what I see as key. Places are just places. It is not that they are unimportant, but they are considerably less important than people. Home is with the person or people you cherish, and who cherish(es) you in return. The Hyde Park house was our home together; but it was home because I shared it with the person I loved and who loved me. It cannot be my home now. It would be a shadow house, built on memory and death. I don't mean George's death by that, but death to the spirit, the way defining oneself by the past tends to close the door on possibilities and therefore on life.
The luncheon house reminded me that I can't really do strict mid century again. I probably never could. It was George's house and George's style. Accommodations were made, as in all relationships. I suppose, since I was young when I married, and the house came with the husband, I've always assumed it was my style as well. And of course there are aspects of mid-century design I like, but not a whole house. I am far too eclectic. And I want deeply cushy chairs that I can curl up in cat-like. There you have it.
Thursday I met the conductor. Last night I attended the symphony. The performance was fabulous.
I've been feeling badly about not yet reviewing the Knoxville Symphony performance at Big Ears, and it does still plague me. It was a fabulous concert, and the orchestra got good reviews in the national press. Since that concert I have been thinking the orchestra should be doing more work like the pieces they performed that evening. We have an excellent orchestra, with talented and sensitive musicians, artists who are willing and capable of find the beauty in the new as well as the familiar. At big ears, I had been blown away. In the Dessner, the orchestra perfectly balanced the fine tension between sweetness and severity in the piece, and Phillip Glass' Cello Concerto #2, was stunning, performed with what I can only describe as a sense of delightful joy. That may not have been what the musicians felt as they were playing, but it was what the audience, or this member of the audience, experienced. It is easy to overplay the Glass, to make it too severe, and rob it of joy. That performance created the perfect meeting of modern and classical, minimalism and lush romanticism. It appealed to the head, but also to the heart, and there were moments when I was brought to tears, and a moment in the fourth movement when I could not avoid the chill the music brought down my spine.
And yet, in a way I got my wish. It seems to me that this week's concert had everything one could wish for. The lush beauty of Dvorak; Elgar's Enigma Variations, stunningly, and movingly performed; and a new work, Adam Schoenberg's Finding Rothko. In Finding Rothko, the orchestra reproduced that sense of music as something that creates a living space, a space you are invited to inhabit. The orchestra pulled it off beautifully two weeks previously with John Luther Adam's Become Ocean; a performance in which one could hear and feel the waves, feel the water rising around you, filled with power, and powerlessness, and even serenity. Finding Rothko was similarity well performed. Like a Rothko painting, except with music instead of color, one is drawn into the experience through subtle layering of sound and musical shading. The performance was almost like inhabiting a Rothko painting, like a vivid color experience of the same intense feelings that are engendered when one inhabits a Rothko space, such as the Rothko Chapel in Houston. Stunning.