Toward Valhalla

August 2, 2011
Several months ago, I was sitting in Walt Disney Concert Hall, mesmerized, gazing at the sprawling orchestra before me. The bows sailed, the harp strings quivered, the conductor’s baton wove gracefully through the air. Beside me, the annoying tourist family continued to babble to each other loudly, but their voices drifted slowly away from me, riding the stream of flowing notes. Then, seeming to mirror the pattern of my breath, the music began to pant quicker and quicker. My eyes welled with tears, the sheer, raw glory of Wagner’s music becoming almost painful. The notes soared up, higher and higher, and finally—the climax. The high D pierced the air, and my breath caught in my throat. Then, the notes began to descend once more. I closed my eyes and inhaled deeply, as if I could suck in the music and keep it vibrating within me forever.

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