Did I ever mention that I am a musician, former pianist, singer, and then composer? Maybe, or maybe not. Anyway, music is part of my life. I started singing when I was 2 years old, and then studying piano when I was 4. My passion for music was clear since my early childhood.
Beethoven was the first composer with whom I fell in love, and those who say you never forget your first love are probably right. I can't imagine my world without his music. Actually, as a child, I could not imagine a world without music and sounds, and I still remember when thinking about Beethoven and how he became deaf, I used to pray to keep my earing, training myself to "listen" to the music with my full body, not just with my ears, just in case. At the time, it was difficult for me to understand how he could write wonderful music even being deaf.
So I couldn't miss the concert titled "Beethoven Dreams" with the Santa Barbara Symphony, all revolving around Beethoven.
As usual, wonderful Maestro Nir Kabaretti, artistic director and conductor of this fantastic orchestra, put together an amazing program, opening with Ella Milch-Sheriff's "The Eternal Stranger", inspired by a letter dated 1821 in which Beethoven describes a dream. An almost immersive experience enriched by evocative projections and the vibrant presence of the actors, John P. Connolly and Nitya Vidyasagar, directed by Jonathan Fox, followed by the Piano Concerto No. 4 featuring talented pianist Inna Faliks.
"Beethoven Dreams" concluded with a brilliant execution of Symphony No. 4 and opened up a world of reflections on perception for me.
Not only because of the immense value of live classical music.
Even if I stopped training myself to listen to music "as I was deaf" when I was a teen, I kept enjoying music as a full-body, physical experience. This is (probably) one of the reasons why I left the piano for dance. And there is nothing like a live concert (performed by an excellent orchestra like the Santa Barbara Symphony, I should add) making me feel as if I and music were one.
What amazes me most is how Beethoven's genius flourished despite his limitation - and maybe because of it.
We know that our brain can "rewire" itself and find creative ways to deal with limitations. We know that when one sense is impaired, other senses can compensate. But the fact that a man, a musician, who was becoming deaf to "this world" was able to open his door to such a fountain of inspiration related to that one sense he was losing, well, this is amazing, outstanding, and deserves some reflections.
I will leave this door - the door to reflections - open.
We can reflect on "turning lead into gold" (transforming obstacles into resources), on "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade", and so on.
For sure Beethoven is a model about transforming limitations into something precious. For me, there is much more - something that is related to turning our focus inwards, wiping out the background noise in which we are immersed, and listening to a "voice" that is above and beyond the empty chattering that most of the time surrounds us.