Dvorak’s New World Symphony, Warwick 18 March 2011
She’s only a girl, in the third violins;
maybe thirteen, with a face that’s glowing.
She’s moving her bow with the rest of the strings,
but her eyes are alive and her spirit’s rising.
The music climbs and descends,
gathering her and us all in its insistent hands,
and the girl becomes one with its flow.
Now she’s sixteen, now sixty:
the pain and the loss.
Time moves so fast,
and then slow – she knows love and joy –
and it’s gone.
I cry for her,
and for me,
as the sound fades from our reach.
And then the oboe’s whisper:
I am you, you are me,
please don’t ever stop.
We are one, hear us sigh;
How far can we go?
I am you, whisper low;
Feel my music flow.
Join in now with me.
Now I’m old, now I’m young,
Now we all are one.
Quieter now, please don’t go;
Please, oh, please don’t go.
I want you, you want me,
Please, oh please don’t go.
Please don’t go.
But the hall waits,
and now you are reborn with trumpets and drums:
raise your chin.
The new world is here, and is here, and here again.
And she, and you, are there.
I am you and you are me,
please don’t ever go.
And now is the time to be thirteen and ageless once more,
And lost in the power and the might of the roar,
And let it unfold and drive forward that bow,
And be with the beat and be the beat too,
And all is to play for and all is to love,
And all are as one with the music and you,
And the audience have gone and are birds in the blue,
And my mother is with me and I am alone,
And now I am flying and part of the flock,
And now we are wheeling and facing a shock,
And now I’m my mum and I’ve fallen in love,
And now he’s gone off and I don’t understand,
And now the drums save me and now we soothe them,
And now we see freedom, and now we have won,
And now I am floating and lost in the crowd,
And now I am fading and watching them fall –
and fall –
and fall away at last;
Silence and applause.
Inseparable humanity and youth.
Her face is ecstasy.
©2011 Matthew Rhodes
This was a full orchestral concert where the youngest violinist stood out through her immersion in the experience. I want to remember her expression at the end for a very long time.