Friday, November 29, 2013

Choral beauty

Eldest came home late Wednesday night and left for college again this evening. She's flying out to California on Thursday for a job interview on Friday, then back to school on Saturday in time to perform in her choir concert. In between now and then, she has to work on three projects due by the end of the following week. It's... a lot.

This morning, in order to capture a bit of one-on-one time, she and I walked up to the Cloisters. There's an 'exhibit' there through December 8th which, if you are anywhere in the NY area and can carve out a visit, is worth hearing. It's a sound installation in the Fuentaduena chapel of Thomas Tallis' 40-part motet, Spem in alium. There are 40 speakers, one for each voice.  It's quite breathtaking.

In addition to the experience of being in the midst, the middle, the center of glorious music, there was the magic of watching people listen. It's a holiday weekend, and although Eldest and I timed our visit to arrive shortly after the museum opened, the chapel was packed. I would guess there were 150+ people in the small room. A third of them stood motionless, eyes shut. Many others looked off in the near distance, lost in thought or emotion. No one spoke. No one texted. A few people took photos of the crucifix hanging from the apse.

When you are at a concert, you are the recipient of music. This is a different thing, a being-in-the-midst. When you are at a concert, you next to or in front of or behind others, and do not see how they are responding. To be lost in beautiful music along with others who are lost in it as well -- perhaps in the same way as you are, perhaps not -- is an interesting experience.

I did not see a single person leave during the entire 11-minute duration of the piece.

If you go during the week, it will not be as crowded. And the museum is now open on Mondays. The suggested admissions price is just that: suggested. They will not ask how much you want to pay at the desk, but if you say, "Two, please," and hand them two dollars, they will give you the tickets. (This is true at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as well, and at the American Museum of Natural History.)

Go. It is a beautiful thing to be among others who are appreciating a beautiful thing.

1 comment:

  1. sounds wonderful! good luck to eldest on the job interview. I know too well the struggle between excitement for a wonderful opportunity and the anticipation of such a long distance. Prayers for all!