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  • Writer's pictureWILLIAM A SLOAN

We Went to the Symphony

And the program started with the orchestra playing

Elgar’s Enigma Variation IX (Adagio) “Nimrod”

A wonderful title, an unforgettable piece of music, one that everyone has heard parts of – in a movie, in a commercial – and probably thought, ”Now, that’s beautiful.” But the piece in its entirety – it’s transformative. Truly.

Nimrod, to me, is the therapy you didn’t know you needed. It unlocks things, revealing deeper depths, answering unasked questions, questioning convenient answers. It’s familiar in a someone’s-eavesdropping-on my-soul kind of way.

Within four bars, I was suddenly alone, alone in a crowd of 2,000 people, alone with thoughts and memories and joys and sadnesses. I was stunned by the waves of emotion, and I’m a touchy-feely kind of guy, but this was like experiencing an old school home movie of specific moments in my own life, with no voices, no sounds other than the ebbing and flowing of the music. There were surprise guest stars in these home movies. Intimate close-ups. There were memories corrected through the understanding of an older eye. Love found. Love lost. Love misunderstood. Love cherished.

I smiled broadly, I cried without apology, alone in the dark with 2,000 strangers and Elgar’s music as my companions.

“My idea is that there is music in the air, music all around us; the world is full of it,

and you simply take as much as you require.”

– Edward Elgar

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