I spent most of yesterday in bed, sick with what I'm assuming was food poisoning. In the last thirty-six hours or so, I've eaten half a can of soup, some grapes, and a little snack pack of wheat thins, most of that courtesy of Peter after I texted him that I was maybe too weak to walk to the store and could he maybe bring me some soup and 7-Up? But apparently that tiny amount of food was enough to put my ailing body back on track, and so now I'm drinking coffee and feeling surprisingly non-horrible. In a little while, I'll eat some oatmeal and head off to work.
Last night, after the half-can of soup, I had to go to a rehearsal. I asked to be relieved from playing duties (I was too weak, really, to move my arms that much), so I sat and watched the rehearsal from my seat, score in hand and ready to mark my part with any changes. We're playing Dvorak's New World Symphony right now, one of the pieces he wrote when he visited America near the end of his life. This piece has history for me, and as it turns out for a lot of people; many of us adored it when we were nascent musicians, and now we all seem to be somewhat less impressed with it. This symphony was actually one of the first pieces I ever really connected with, while watching the Flagstaff Symphony when I was maybe thirteen. I remember listening to the fourth movement (loud and bombastic, energetic harmonies) and being just incredibly amped up afterwards, on fire and in love. I wanted nothing more than to play that music, to be part of the machine making it. I spent the next year or two listening to an old crappy cassette tape over and over on my old walkman; I used to listen to it while I delivered newspapers when I was a freshman in high school. Dorky.
But now, fifteen years or so later, I'm finally playing it. And yeah, I don't like it as much as I did. Dvorak seems to be like that, for whatever reason. I don't think he's a bad composer, but he appealed much more to my younger self than he does to my current self. Now I criticize the occasional clumsy harmonic change or the somewhat overdone drama, and feel guiltily like I'm abandoning something from my youth. I guess time and musical tastes inevitably move on, so I'm just trying to do my memory justice and work up a heartbeat for those dramatic moments, of which there are many. It seems a fitting way, somehow, to end this season.