Musings about the classics

Not being a regular visitor to the symphony, I wasn't sure if I would like attending a concert by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. I usually don't listen to classical music. I have absolutely no ear for music. But midway through a violin concerto by Dvorak, something stirred in my soul and I realized why classics are classics.

The concerto featured violinist Jennifer Koh. She was mesmerizing. I'm a neophyte, as I said, but I could appreciate both the intensity and subtlety in the interpretation. There was something in her playing, in the dialogue between her and director Kazuyoshi Akiyama, that was not of this world. The audience called her back three times with applause and a standing ovation.

Thinking back on the creative works that have touched my life, I remember certain moments as flashes of deep connection. Maybe the same thing has happened to you.

And there's the answer: sometimes you encounter something so sublime, so deeply emotional and personal, that the experience transcends both the artist and the work. It's a moment that lifts you out of your skin, lets you abandon your problems, allows you to "slip the surly bonds of earth," as the poem goes. It's communication with the universal spirit. I believe that's one reason we call them classics and why they last forever.

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