“For more than one hundred years this story has given faithful service to the
Young in Heart; and Time has been powerless to put its kindly
philosophy out of fashion.
To those of you who have been faithful to it in return
…and to the Young in Heart…
we dedicate this picture.” ~The Wizard of Oz, dedication
I can honestly state, with humble grace and clarity, that The Wizard of Oz is as meaningful to me now, at age 33, as it was at age six. It’s been a few years since I’ve viewed the film. Life has a precocious way of getting in the way, of making one forget to practice the sacred rituals that carry over from childhood, such as annual viewings of Oz. This film has been indelibly ingrained in my own childhood experience and, as such, continues to color my “adulthood” (or, as I like to call it, “doing whatever I want”-hood)…so much, in fact, that I decided to put my St. Patrick’s Day celebration on hiatus and treat myself to the PSO Pops performance of music from my favorite classic.
I was absolutely delighted. The orchestra’s accompaniment of the film was an astounding experience. The live performance of the music made it personal; I was transported to Oz in a magnificent balloon, with the orchestra providing a fantastic soundtrack and giving Oz a depth that I had never before experienced. It was like the first time I had watched Oz performed in tandem with The Dark Side of the Moon, sans the creepy drug references.
As my friend and I were leaving the hall, we saw several children dutifully pulling their enchanted parents from their seats. The parents clearly did not want to let the star dust settle; they were still enamored by the story and with the Oz legacy, perpetuating it again in their own style. Despite not having any of my own munchkins, I think that parenthood presents a distinct opportunity to relive one’s own childhood rituals. Experiencing the vibrant, Technicolor dream with one’s own children (or seeing it from a new adult perspective) lends the familiar, culturally ubiquitous tale a fresh shade of emerald. It was thrilling again to be dazzled by the Ruby Slippers and frightened by the Wicked Witch of the West (who, by the way, grossly defies my “character names should not be alliterated” rule). I’m not too proud to admit that “Over the Rainbow” made my eyes a bit misty. And no, I do not attribute my emotion to the green beer.
Overall, I deem that last weekend was a successful one. In my all-too-brief respite from the St. Patrick’s Day carousing (aka, “Amateur Hour”), I was treated to a trip to Oz with bone-shaking, soul enrapturing music. This weekend marks the annual return of Emanuel Ax, one of my absolute favorite pianists. Mr. Ax never disappoints. The Young in Heart will love him.