After a friend's Carnegie recital this evening, Alvaro and I got to talking shop, and at one point I asked him, "So... what is it that you're looking for when you go to a concert?"  He said he was waiting to be surprised.  I think I know what he meant, but for me it might be a little bit different.  I love to be energized by concerts, and I love that shock of surprise as well, but what I really want is a moment that I've described before.

That moment where all the connections in life and death seem to converge together at once, and only for a brief instant, to produce a perfect, harmonious, all encompassing clarity/catharsis.

And when I use the word harmonious, I don't mean it in a musical sense... I mean it in a way that perhaps touches nirvana.  But not simply nirvana.  (Simply?)  Because harmony would imply balance, and to be really, truly balanced, you'd need to catch sight of some of the terrible and painful and suffering, as well as the terribly beautiful and painfully pure and a feeling that you have been stripped of suffering through understanding.  (Though what I often feel is a strange mix of guilt and heartbreak from understanding.  Who wants to explain that?)  The juxtaposition of dissonance against harmony is what really makes us feel freed.

And when I say "a brief instant," I mean that in the truest sense.  It happens, and passes before you can even grab onto it, almost before you can recognize it.  And the moment it's registered that, yes, I'm having this feeling, it's already gone.  And it's sort of sad.  Sad that it couldn't linger a bit longer, because in that glimpse, everything was beyond bliss.  The deepest, most-cleansing breath that conveys the absence of any physical limitation.  And I won't know, as I never have, if I'll ever have that feeling again.  But that's what I'm waiting for.

And I can tell you the last time I had that moment.  April 10, 2011.  Carnegie Hall.  Met Orchestra, James Levine conducting one of his last concerts, Evgeny Kissin soloing for the Chopin Concerto No. 1.  I went with a student to see Kissin.  I insisted on staying for the Brahms Symphony.  I wanted the fourth (my favorite), but it was the second.  Not long into it, (and I wish I could hum to you the melody of this moment, because I remember exactly what I was hearing when it happened,) my eyes became wet with tears, totally unprovoked, and not in a sob... I almost would not have noticed my physical reaction if it weren't for the wetness.  My soul was instantly exonerated.  And I spent the rest of the concert perched over the ledge in front of me, hoping with all my might that it would never end.

I once asked here, if you had ever felt like you had been saved by a piece of art.  Needless to say, this was a one.

And now, on to what my Dad calls "squeak music," and yes, that's with a negative connotation.

Here we go, Day 94: