Spring came on really strong a few weeks ago and now seems to be backpeddling. These last few weeks have been cold. We even had a threat of snow last weekend! I thought we might have another April Fool’s Snow! (I can’t believe that my blog is a year old already!) While I’m a bit irritated with the warm weather tease, I’m also a thankful that the chill seems to have extended the lifespan of the flowers. When we lived in New Jersey, the forsythia blossoms were everywhere for about a week and a half before giving way to green leaves. It always felt like the flowers were gone too soon but who am I to argue? The pink, yellow and bright white blooms have been painting the area around here for weeks now. At least we get something in exchange for the warm weather.
One of the things that I miss about living in Princeton popped into my head recently. The drive into town was especially delightful when the trees were flowering in the spring and the leaves were changing in the fall. My favorite thing to do was to listen to Rhapsody in Blue and just enjoy the scenery. It was majestic.
Here is something about me that you might not know: I’ve loved Rhapsody in Blue for decades of my life. I could easily agree with the argument that it is the greatest piece of music written/composed by an American. I’m so obsessed that while we were in the process of adopting Chowder, I waged a hardcore campaign to name him Gershwin. An outstanding item on my Bucket List was to see Rhapsody performed live.
See how I used the word was? Something amazing happened last week!
I’ve been following Secret Boston on Facebook for a while. I read about a lot of great events from her and Somerville Local First. Secret Boston is pretty awesome when it comes to ticket giveaways. When she posted about this concert, I commented that I’d love to win….. and I DID! She told me that the tickets would be under my name at the booth. When Chris and I arrived, they were right there!
The concert featured a man named Kirill Gerstein. When he was 13 years old, he was the youngest student ever admitted to the Berklee School of Music. His mother came with him, from Russia, to live in the dorms. His parents were in the audience that night and the crowd gave them a big round of applause! Several decades have passed since he walked the halls of Berklee. Kirill has been traveling and playing Rhapsody in Blue with symphonies around the world. He wanted to have a homecoming and play with some of his former teachers and mentors. He is the 2010 recipient of the Gilmore Artist Award. He used some of the money to commission two original pieces of music that he debuted that night. One composition was written by Chick Corea. He played it with Gary Burton on the vibraphone. It’s always thrilling to hear good live vibraphone players and he is one of the best! He and Chick are currently touring together in Europe. The show closed with Mr. Gerstein performing Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue along with a small orchestra of fantastic musicians. Many of them were faculty and there was so much love for this piece in that room. Kirill didn’t even have the music in front of him. It was from the heart. And yes, I got a bit teary-eyed more than once. A woman named Anat Cohen (another Berklee prodigy) played the all important clarinet intro and solos. She played three amazing latin dance numbers in the first half of the show and made it look so effortless. She is a current headliner at the upcoming Newport Jazz Festival if you’d like to check her out for yourself.
The concert was a moment in my life I will always remember. It’s such an amazing piece of music that has a life of its own. Rhyme and reason with no lyrics. Pure poetry.
It doesn’t look like the weather is going to change too much in the next week. While we were walking the dog (he who is not named Gershwin!) today, I noticed that the forsythias in the above picture still look about the same as they did. Almost two weeks have passed since that photo was taken. It’s a bittersweet moment when I realize that the spring blossoms have already peaked for the year and are about to fade away for another 365 days. I know that the summer heat will be here soon enough. For now, I’m enjoying the extended span of color.