One of my hobbies is backpacking. I enjoy the opportunities to be in the natural world, to accept it on its own terms (including storms), and to be able to listen. And when you think of such things in music, the first piece that comes to mind is Beethoven Symphony No. 6, and the Fantasia rendering of green pastors, interupted by storms, and return to green pastures. Except, the real, living world is not like that. Even in its most peaceful and idyllic, everything is just much more, . . . , random. And anyplace that is alive has sounds (whether or not you are listening properly is another question) and the representation of the natural world by sweeping melodies, evokes an emotion or a picture rather then represents its true nature. Last night's Dharma at Big Sur by John Adams was different.
Dharma provided a different sort of view of the outdoors. And listening to it brings you through a full day. There is the beginning of the day, and you can almost hear the low murmurs of surf and nature entering your subconscious as you slowly wake up in the morning. As the sun rises, more and more of the world awakes, with waking birds adding clarity above (but not replacing) the ambient sounds that continue. And finally, you wake up yourself, looking forward to the day and adventures ahead of you with sights and sounds both familiar and not (the gongs provide the different sort of sound that keeps things interesting.)
But my friends also know that water and I go together when I go outdoors. And so Dharma has this too. It also has the raw power of nature crashing. But even here, its not just that you can hear the waves crashing against the rocks on the shore, or the thunder and lighting, but you hear the constant rain that is in the backdrop, and the wind's whistle bends as it goes by.
It is a different part of life. I mentioned how John Adams Short Ride in a Fast Machine
seemed to reflect the greatness in even the doing of everyday tasks in a very man-made environment. But this seemed almost organic and a living and growing thing. And like a good backpacking trip, I almost expect it to be different the next time I hear it.
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