Autumn and Tchaikovsky

As the summer green leaves turned into the rusts, golds, and burgundy of autumn; with it came an air of romance. Now Hubby and I do many things together, but we don’t stress about setting a planned date night every week, because there are so many other ways in which we keep our marriage alive. But on occasion, I want romance. I want to date the suave, debonair, romantic guy.

The man who takes off his hockey Jersey, put on a suit and take me to hear classical music. Hubby may not have my same interests, but I don’t wish to change who he is. I do, however, appreciate the moments he tries something new for me.

His mother Peggy will be moving in with us soon, so we already switched bedrooms. We gave Peggy the master bedroom because it is downstairs and easier. Though we sleep in the same bedroom together, we each took a guest room upstairs for our clothes and bathroom things so we wouldn’t be cramped in one room. 

As I was getting ready in my room, I heard Hubby leave to bring the car around and he rang the doorbell. We were having a romantic date! I opened the door and he looked up and down at me in my fancy dress and said, “Let’s just stay home,” with a devilish grin. *Swoon.

Living in Murray, it was a 40 minute drive to the Carson Center in Paducah. We arrived early enough to have a nice dinner at Jasmine, get to the Carson Center, and find our seats – third row from the stage, right in the center. Amazing seats. 

Before I moved back to Murray, I would attend the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra and I always splurged on good seats (except for the many years when Bob Bernhardt was Maestro and he would give me comp tickets – which were also good seats). I loved being close enough to see the expression on the musicians’ faces. They play their instrument with such feeling. 

Hubby asked if there were anything special he needed to know about the symphony.  I told him about giving applause and sensing the mood – you just have to feel it. Sometimes you will clap and sometimes you won’t.  He told me he’d just wait for everybody else to clap. That’s my Hubby, the insurance guy – always playing it safe. 

Then I told him about the violinist who was First Chair, and how he enters last, just before the Maestro enters.  He quipped, “Maybe he’s just late.” <Ahem> …I don’t joke when it comes to the symphony. I hoped he wasn’t going to do that all night. Just then, a very pregnant violinist came to her seat and I saw Hubby’s gaze. He said, “Whoa,” and I felt my muscles tightened, bracing myself for what he might say, and here it came… “She’s about to pop!” You have to understand, Hubby is used to a hockey crowd. This was his first symphony. After shushing him and darting my eyes at him, I decided to give him grace. He would soon, get the feel of the symphony crowd.

Just then, a big man inched down the row in front of us. It never fails. Someone tall always sits in front of me at any concert or game I attend. I am 5’2.  The man asked the couple sitting in front of Hubby, what seat number they were. Whew… his was three seats down from them. I was excited knowing I was going to be able to see and enjoy this concert.

The First Chair entered the stage and …it was a young woman. Good for her. She was beautiful. Then Maestro, Raffaele Ponti, entered the stage.

A trip to the Scottish island of Staffa inspired Mendelssohn to compose the concert overture, The Hebrides. Grammy-nominated pianist, Terrence Wilson, joined the orchestra for Mozart’s best known piano concerto. 

Before performing MENDELSSOHN – The Hebrides (“Fingal’s Cave”) Ponti talked about the cave, and that he believes the composer was speaking of the water when he wrote it. How it was calm, flowing and beautiful… refreshing water. Then, would come the rushing and slapping of the water against the rocks. 

Pianist, Terrance Wilson sat at the baby grand in front-center of the stage. Applause, then – silence. Mr. Wilson was a slight man, but his fingers swam across the keys with fluidity. I loved watching his face as he zoned in on the piano as if he were walking a long journey. His expression was disciplined, yet worn …like his life had many stories to tell. I prayed for him. It was such a beautiful piece.

The mood was ‘no applause’.  

The second piece was MOZART – Piano Concerto No.21. Mr. Wilson put all of his might into his fingers, not missing a note as he furiously rapped at the piano keys in repetitive motion. It was intense – hence the mood… there was a silence, but I decided that there SHOULD be applause, so I led the patrons in show of appreciation. 

Mr. Wilson looked right at me, making eye contact, and I nodded. I could tell he appreciated my boldness to lead. I am not afraid to step out of the crowd when it is appropriate to do so (I do it in church sometimes, when the pastor really gets going and I feel The Spirit – I just start clapping and usually others will too). But my play-it-safe Hubby’s knee-jerk reaction to me leading applause after I had just told him about sensing the mood; quickly put his hand over mine as if to hush me. Didn’t work. When the crowd joined me, he relaxed realizing I did not commit a Cardinal sin. I told him never to quiet praise. And I am glad we gave applause that time, because Mr. Wilson then left the stage.

Intermission. Hubby and I stayed seated and when the First Chair entered the stage, Hubby already knew what to do. He was becoming a symphony pro.

TCHAIKOVSKY – Symphony No.5 The next piece was triumphant and sent chills over my body! But the one following was a sullen piece, that made me cry. It was very beautiful and lovely, but sad. The mood was no applause, but I loved it so, and even though I sensed the mood was no applause I led applause again even though I probably shouldn’t have, because sometimes when the mood is quiet, it is in that moment you are left to ponder. And, that is a very important part of taking in the symphony. I hoped I didn’t ruin that for Hubby or others. I felt good about leading applause that first time, but wished I had stayed quiet on that one. I just loved it so much.  

The rest of the movement was merry and fantastic. I could tell Hubby liked his first symphony! He didn’t fall asleep, talk during the performance, or look at his phone for Hockey scores. It was a romantic October night with my husband, and a wonderful evening experiencing the Paducah Symphony Orchestra.

jenjeffreybillington@gmail.com

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