Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ode to Joy

Yesterday I was driving home from the in-laws'. I had Klassik-Radio on. Suddenly this brass music started, horns and trumpets, deep bass. I recognized it, and within moments I felt a joy welling up within me; tears began streaming down my face. I felt giddy and was cackling my joy to the world.

Why? What was it? It was some film music, some processional march from one of those "Roman Type" movies, as we say in my family. I wasn't sure at first, I must admit, if it was from "The Robe" or what, but those strains of music were intimately familiar, that stirring marching music, conjuring up the pomp of Rome, the might, the glory of Rome. When at last it had run its course, the announcer came on and of course! It was from "Ben Hur", the parade of the charioteers by Miklós Rózsa.

Parade of the Charioteers

I know most anybody else will listen to this piece with a different feeling, from apathy to dislike to whatever.

Why did it stir me so, just at that moment? Listening to it again now, I don't get the same feeling. It's just some piece of music I know. I thought about other pieces of music I might hear on a classical station. Somehow it didn't seem my reaction would've been the same if I had heard one of my favorite pieces from Mozart, say, or Beethoven. And surely I didn't count this piece among my great favorites anyway.

A lot was the serendipity of it, I thought. I surely didn't expect to hear such a piece then and there. This was Klassik Radio however, and they are famous for their eclectic mix of film music in the afternoons, so really in the back of my mind I was hoping to hear something of that ilk. So this was only part of it. Surely too, it had to do with the recognition I experienced.

Certainly I was filled with such joy, cranking the volume all the way up, for a number of reasons, but I think one main one was that the movie was one I had seen every year on TV in my childhood, like "Moby Dick" or "The Wizard of Oz". But the latter, sure, I have since seen and heard music from so many times that if I suddenly heard "If I Only Had A Brain", say, would I react the same way? Hmmm. Well, yes, I would melt into tears of joy if I heard "Over The Rainbow", since I love that song anyway.

So OK, I'm trying to analyze a nearly ineffable experience here. Give it up, kiddo. Life offers up these moments of joy. You can't put your finger on why it happens. You can't push a button and say, OK, I'm going to have an uplifting experience now. I suppose that's the object of my ruminations here, to figure out where the sudden feeling comes from, to perhaps manufacture more of them for myself in the future.

Weel weel. Though it is certainly true that I can't produce such moments like a magician, out of thin air, I know I will continue to enjoy them when - like magic - they happen.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely ruminations, brother! What you say is so true. It is such an ineffable potpourri of elements that come together to create such a moment, such a feeling. You capture and communicate it well. Thanks!