Memorial Day with New York’s Philharmonic Orchestra

It seems to be a tradition in my family to spend Memorial Day not only honoring those who have served in the armed forces and persons who have passed before us, but also enjoying the outdoors. In Utah, Memorial Day commonly signifies the opening of my grandparent’s pool complete with a family party and bbq. Sadly and funny enough, Utah woke to a blanket of snow this morning! I think they just couldn’t bear to have the bbq without me!

Still, in accordance with this outdoor tradition, Bryan and I woke early this morning to go hiking… only we woke to an atrocious thunder, lightning, and rain storm and thus quickly decided to reassess the plan. After quick evaluation, we opted to go “hiking” in the concrete jungle. The rain did eventually let up and we enjoyed a wonderful adventure spanning (on foot mind you) nearly 100 blocks! We were anywhere between 125th and 34th! I’d call that legit concrete hiking, wouldn’t you? It was marvelous! The parks were full, the shops were busy, the sun was out, and the city was alive, warm (and humid) with the dawning of summer.

Then, come evening we wearily meandered back to 110th and Amsterdam where we joined a lengthy line to attend New York Philharmonic Orchestra’s free Annual Memorial Day Concert at St. John’s Cathedral.

This may seem strange, but I actually adore the excitement of waiting in such lines. If anything, I think it’s because anyone who is willing to camp out for hours to enjoy something has to be pretty excited about the event too! There is so much enthusiasm, optimism, and anticipation! I love it! (Ere go my love for midnight movies! Harry PotterLOTR…etc) From 5:00 to 7:30 we chatted, played games, ate dinner, and rested our feet as we waited for the doors to open.

(Yes we somehow wore nearly identical shirts. Ha! I died of laughter! We look like the ultimate grandparent couple trying to match and all. Funny thing is 1-we’re both too stubborn to be the one to change, and 2-really, who cares?! Ha!)

Come 7:30 we entered the cathedral, located spectacular seats, and prepared to enjoy the most spectacular concert in the most gorgeous cathedral.

They first played Barber's Adagio for Strings which lasted about eight minutes. It was truly lovely, and an exquisite work of art. Not to mention, the acoustics were beyond pristine.

Last, they played Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, Eroica made of four movements, lasting a total of near 50 minutes. The music was so captivating, however, I was in fact shocked when 9:00pm crept out of nowhere. I found the background of this piece particularly fascinating. Apparently, Beethoven had originally planned to dedicate his work to Napoleon Bonaparte as he esteemed him equal to the greatest leaders of Ancient Rome. When Beethoven learned that Napoleon had proclaimed himself emperor in 1804, however, he was enraged and immediately tore the title page with Bonaparte’s name. In the playbill it shared that Beethoven furiously stated, "So he is no more than a common mortal! Now, too, he will tread under foot all the rights of man, indulge only his ambition; now he will think himself superior to all men, become a tyrant!" Thus instead, when the piece was first published, he titled it Sinfonia Eroica...composta per festeggiare il sovvenire di un grand Uomo (Heroic Symphony, Composed to Celebrate the Memory of a Great Man). Isn’t history so fun!

Well, Happy Memorial Day!

Post a Comment