Smetana Moldau Memories

Driving along in Oklahoma yesterday, my mind rife with stress about getting a new apartment in Buffalo, New York, and the disaster of boxes and half-packed scores that is my current home, I was pleasantly interrupted by the lilting strains of Smetana's Moldau on NPR's Performance Today.
classical music flute
Opening Flute Passage of the Moldau




In an instant I was awash in musical melodies, thunderous brass, and sonic bliss (all while driving my excited preschooler to gymnastics class). I remembered the first time I had heard the classical piece, playing in a local children's orchestra, and the many hours I spent with an old vinyl recording practicing my oh-so-important triangle part for the upcoming concert with the now Florida Youth Orchestra


Die Moldau / Vltava
Die Moldau / Vltava (Photo credit: leralle)
I explained the instrumentation to my daughter as I conducted and drove (perhaps not as dangerous as texting and driving?). And she quickly let me know when the tempo slowed down and sped up. Of course, she has already told me that she would like to be a conductor when she grows up (that is, when she's not being a doctor) so I continue to wave my hands, explaining, "Conducting is like painting with music."

What is it about classical music that can so quickly transport you to a magical beautiful place of memories and other-worlds? I have never visited Smetana's precious Bohemia, but as I listen to each dancing strain, each powerful chord, each gentle rhythmic dance, I feel that perhaps, in some way, Bohemia could have been my home, too. 




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