The William Tell Overture

Posted: July 18, 2018 in Uncategorized

I recently attended a symphony performance in which the William Tell Overture was first on deck. The audience sat alert through the martial calls and percussive pace. Beside me to the right sat an elderly woman dressed to the nines having a delightful experience.

With each rising line and syncopated cadence she giggled with girlish glee. This was something special for her, the source of pure pleasure. I thought she must be remembering each and every time she had heard the Overture before.

At the end, even before the applause died down, she turned to me and said, “I could imagine the Lone Ranger riding in at any moment!” I’m sure she did.

I am amazed at how deeply music penetrates the chambers of memory and emotion. Music allows us to remember and re-experience that which is normally hidden. As cousin to a smell, the sense of sound imprints and attaches in unique ways. And age is no obstacle. In fact, music seems to leap over the walls of age back to the time when it was first heard.

You could guess that the woman sitting beside me was in her eighties. She might look it and her driver’s license confirm it. But in the end I would have to disagree. She was no more than ten years old, catapulted back to an earlier time.  She was the one who laughed out loud during the grand pause at the end, which was, if you asked me, the best part of the symphony.

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