Thursday, January 3, 2013

Music, Monks and Mortality

    Today I spent a couple hours listening to Andre Rieu and his Johann Strauss orchestra performing in New York’s Radio City Music Hall (2007).  He and his orchestra are filled with a joie de vivre, a joie de musique unparalleled by any other group I’ve ever experienced.

    It occurred to me that it would be a joy to die for if I were invited to sing with his orchestra and perhaps conduct a song or two. I am thinking of writing a letter requesting an audience with the high priest of beautiful music.

    As soon as I thought of this “to die for” possibility I remembered the Arthur C. Clarke science fiction short story from 1953 about the Tibetan monks who sought to write down all nine billion names of God. They thought once that was accomplished, God would bring the universe to an end.

    In that story they did complete the naming and "overhead, without any fuss, the stars [went] out." I feared that if I got my wish to perform with Rieu and his orchestra, I’d die at the end of my performance having been granted my “to die for” wish. Perhaps I’ll simply continue to enjoy their love of music from a safe distance. There’s too much music yet to be heard.

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