My Father's World MAG

June 28, 2012

I have grown up in a family whose love for music is unending. My growth has been marked not by when I started kindergarten or high school, but by musical standards. My father loved his music. On Saturday mornings he would lock himself in his office, pick up a copy of the Times and listen to music. He filled my mind with music which, when I was young, I resented. I never understood why he kept forcing me to listen to music and each time he did, I would always say, "Ugh, classical music again."

I did not know what to expect when I was invited to Tanglewood four years after his death. Would this bring back feelings of resentment, or bring me closer to him? I prepared like a young child getting ready for his first day of school. I put on a new white shirt and freshly ironed pants so I could fit in with the crowd. Approaching the "great lawn," as I later called it, I was awed by its beauty. I felt as if I had broken free from the bondage of everyday life. There was a slight breeze adding to an already perfect evening. The wispy clouds in the western sky were outlined in a warm crimson from the setting sun.

Children were scattered playing games only they could understand. Although the only people I knew were the friends who accompanied me, that evening I knew everyone. This home was not mine though, it was my father's. My father had been here often and told me his great memories. I was skeptical how great a place could be where you just sat and listened to classical music all evening. I soon realized, though, that my father's world was just waiting to be discovered.

Andre Previn walked onstage and looked up at the sky as if for divine guidance. The crowd erupted in cheers. Then suddenly no one in the crowd dared even to whisper. The silence was eerie and with it came a sense of anxiety for what lay ahead. Previn picked up his baton and took command of his army of musicians.

The first chord of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony penetrated the crowd like a knife through flesh. It was not Beethoven's perfect combination of harmony and melody that changed me but the fusion of the two to make a beautiful piece of music. For the first time I had a glimpse into my father's world and realized I always had had a piece of him inside of me. Each note added another color to the cascading waterfall and soon every color one could dream of was in the music. The final chord, though, brought together each of the colors present in the previous chords into a beautiful combination. It led each person into an expansive open field with grass that seemed to go on forever. It took them by the hand and brought each to his idea of heaven.

It was my father's world I began to experience and enjoy, for this was now my heaven. My father never explained how to enjoy music. He simply exposed me to music, and even though I resented it, I now know why he made me listen. Every day I miss him, but music has brought us closer. When I heard the final chord of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony it concluded my journey, but in a sense it has just begun. I realize what he was trying to teach me, but there is so much I need to learn. I don't know if I'll ever complete my journey, but I know each step will bring me closer to him.

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.


MacMillan Books

Aspiring Writer? Take Our Online Course!