Friday, September 30, 2005

The Pigeon Ascending

This morning before my lesson I stopped for a moment to talk to Hoovie in the upstairs hallway of Phillips. I'm glad I did; not only was the conversation good, but it put me in the right place at the right time for a moment of inspiration: a small flock of birds, five or six perhaps, rose from somewhere below and ascended into the sky. I saw not the birds themselves, but their graceful shadows cast against the side of the building: fleeting shapes of grey winging their way into the heavens. I was on my way to my lesson to work on The Lark Ascending, a romance for violin and orchestra by Ralph Vaughan Williams. This very evening I am performing it in a student recital, and in a few short weeks I will begin rehearsing it with our school orchestra. It's a beautiful piece. Unfortunately, I am not sure that I have ever seen a lark, which appears to be the English equivalent of the Germanic musical interest in cuckoos and nightingales. Not that it is entirely necessary for me to have seen a lark in order to play the piece, but it's something I would like to see. Today in the shadows that I glimpsed, I could imagine that I had seen larks ascending. Most likely they were only pigeons; certainly they were not really larks... but the image of those graceful grey figures remains in my mind. I hope I can play the piece well this evening.

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