Awesomeness

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The Symphony’s performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 was an awesome experience last weekend. Awesome in the true meaning of the word–to inspire awe, and, if you go further down the list of meanings, to inspire fear. There is a power both fierce and fearsome in the presence of such art. For some of us, it’s why we keep returning to it

It is somewhat hard to imagine that the musicians making such art are just getting on with their lives like everyone else. During the present St. Louis Symphony baby boom there are infants to be comforted, fed and changed. There are the everyday challenges large and small, plus social media to keep tabs with. Somehow, amidst all that, the Ravel shimmers, Vivier’s Lonely Child delivers a melancholy lullaby, and Mahler’s heaven bursts forth.

But the musicians aren’t just at home practicing one weekend’s concert. There is the next weekend and the one after that. And there are the Community and Education programs the musicians take part in, bringing more intimate forms of awe to smaller venues.

For example, the St. Louis Symphony & St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra side-by-side rehearsal, in which the two best orchestras in the region join for one big rehearsal. David Robertson conducting. The YO musicians sit right next to their heroes and make music with them:

David Robertson conducts the side-by-side rehearsal.
David Robertson conducts the side-by-side rehearsal.
Side-by-side rehearsal
Side-by-side rehearsal

Cortango Orquesta and Principal Harp Allegra Lilly played a Symphony Where You Worship concert at Second Presbyterian Church.

Principal Harp Allegra Lilly gives a tour of the strings.
Principal Harp Allegra Lilly gives a tour of the strings.

The Creative Music Making concert combined St. Louis Arc, the Maryville University Music Therapy program, musicians from the St. Louis Symphony and more than 30 volunteer entertainers from the St. Louis Arc community.

St. Louis trumpet player Jeffrey Strong proudly wears his Community Music Making T-shirt.
St. Louis trumpet player Jeffrey Strong proudly wears his Community Music Making T-shirt.

And musicians gave master classes and a concert at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.

Principal Horn Roger Kaza gives instruction that brings smiles at SIUE.
Principal Horn Roger Kaza gives instruction that brings smiles at SIUE.

In a word: awesome.