It seemed to me that had Haydn lived to our day he would have retained his own style while accepting something of the new at the same time. That was the kind of symphony I wanted to write: a symphony in the classical style. And when I saw that my idea was beginning to work, I called it the Classical Symphony.
Every chance I get I love to talk up the symphony. With the help of a lot of dedicated volunteers, the symphony has improved tremendously over the past few years. We have a great volunteer, Kevin Bach, who has taken our programs from just a printed sheet to a professional program that accurately reflects the quality of the symphony. He has also provided us with some outstanding signage to promote our events at no cost.
Have you seen a symphony orchestra? There is a person at the back carrying a triangle. Now and again the conductor will point to him or her and that person will play "ting." That might seem so insignificant, but in the conception of the composer something irreplaceable would be lost to the total beauty of the symphony if that "ting" did not happen.
You know how it is in the symphony when you are listening to the symphony, the last notes die away, and there's often a beat of silence in the auditorium before the applause begins. It's a very full and pregnant silence. Now theology should bring us to live into that silence, into that pregnant pause.
When I auditioned actors I never make them act. I choose a long symphony, then I tell them to sit down and I play the symphony for them. Then I sit and I look at them. I always pick a piece of music that has up and downs, very dramatic parts, very quiet parts and really sensitive parts so that it can produce different emotions.
I listen to the summer symphony outside my window. Truthfully, it's not a symphony at all. There's no tune, no melody, only the same notes over and over. Chirps and tweets and trills and burples. It's as if the insect orchestra is forever tuning its instruments, forever waiting for the maestro to tap his baton and bring them to order. I, for one, hope the maestro never comes. I love the music mess of it.
A young man, just beginning the study of musical composition, once went to Mozart and asked him the formula for developing the theme of a symphony. Mozart suggested that a symphony was rather an ambitious project for a beginner: perhaps the young man might better try his hand at something simpler first. "But you were writing symphonies when you were my age." the student protested. "Yes, but I didn't have to ask how."
For in the immediate world, everything is to be discerned, for him who can discern it, and central and simply, without either dissection into science, or digestion into art, but with the whole of consciousness, seeking to perceive it as it stands: so that the aspect of a street in sunlight can roar in the heart of itself as a symphony, perhaps as no symphony can: and all of consciousness is shifted from the imagined, the revisive, to the effort to perceive simply the cruel radiation of what is.
I have been told that a young would-be composer wrote to Mozart asking advice about how to compose a symphony. Mozart responded that a symphony was a complex and demanding form and it would be better to start with something simpler. The young man protested, 'But, Herr Mozart, you wrote symphonies when you were younger than I am now.' Mozart replied, 'I never asked how.
From the explanatory notes that Willson wrote to accompany his symphony, A Symphony of San Francisco,: "Generally speaking, the first movement is intended to convey pioneer courage, loyalty, strength of purpose and freedom." The trumpet motive in the closing Allegro "is a call of defiance to the very elements themselves that had the temerity to dispute the spiritual strength and courage of the golden city of the West."
The point of recapitulation in the first movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony unleashes one of the most horrifyingly violent episodes in the history of music....The point is not to hold up Beethoven as exceptionally monstrous. The Ninth Symphony is probably our most compelling articulation in music of the contradictory impulses that have organized patriarchal culture since the Enlightenment. Moreover, within the parameters of his own musical compositions, he may be heard as enacting a critique of narrative obligations that is...devestating.
...As the great Confucius said, "The one who would be in constant happiness must frequently change." Flow. But we keep looking back, don't we? We cling to things in the past and cling to things in the present...Do you want to enjoy a symphony? Don't hold on to a few bars of the music. Don't hold on to a couple of notes. Let them pass, let them flow. The whole enjoyment of a symphony lies in your readiness to allow the notes to pass...
Anthony de Mello
I sometimes like to think of God as a great symphony and the various spiritual paths as instruments in an orchestra. The gift that you have is like music waiting to be played. You need only to find the instrument that will best bring it out. You alone can never play all the instruments, and your music might not find voice in all the instruments. All you can do is find the instrument that suits you best, play it as well as you can, and add your music to the great symphony of divine creation.
Karen rowed for what the venerable American shell builder George Pocock called 'the symphony of motion.' As dawn breaks over the river, the shell is lifted from its rack out into the morning. On another rack the oars hang ready to be greased and slipped into the locks. Then, awakened to the river and the feel of the oars, the oarsmen blend in fulfillment of the shell. The symphony is not of competition. It is the synchronous motion over water, the harmonic flexing of wood and muscle, where each piece of equipment and every oarsman is both essential to, and the limit of motion itself.
Because life is a symphony it must have its C Minor. Days there be when we hear only a discord of sharps and flats, and we wonder whether harmony will ever be restored. On other days we hear only an ominous, deep strain which seems to say that hope is fled. But why this chill despair? Symphonies are a blending of many tones, high and low, over and under, major and minor. One day cannot make a life a whole any more than shadows can make a picture or minor notes a symphony. We need to hear life's song, not as the discord of a single day, but as the completed harmony of all the years. Then will today's sorrow and tomorrow's disappointment ring forth in major key as glorious melody.
W. Waldemar W. Argow