What Gift Does Classical Music Offer?

The following was written by Stephen S. Trott, US Circuit Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

19-20 Program Notes

What enriching experience awaits us when the lights go dark, when Eric simultaneously engages 77 musicians with a simple stroke of his baton? We are here because of our unique gift, the gift of human emotion, the spice of living. Yes, we think and we analyze, but we also feel, and music engages and intensifies every emotion of which we are capable at a level deeper than words, deeper than rational thought. We feel joy, passion, ecstasy. We are astonished, moved, reassured, and inspired. As we commune with the composers of this living art we laugh, we cry, tears run down our faces. We share their dramatic struggles, their despair, fears, triumphs, their spirituality, nostalgia, and their ethereal visions for a better life. When Beethoven reminds us that we are all brothers and sisters and that communion is within our grasp, we leap from our seats, clapping and cheering. We sit for a moment in stunned silence at the conclusion of Tchaïkovsky’s eloquent Sixth Symphony as his hope and life painfully dissolve into oblivion. We chuckle as Elgar describes in his Enigma Variations a clumsy bulldog tumbling down a bank and kerplunking into a stream; we marvel at the indescribable beauty of Mozart’s piano concertos; and we are awed by Bach’s vision of the Cosmos.

Yes, for a moment everything is right in the Universe. It all makes sense, and we are part of it. Music cuts through the white noise of daily life, and the mundane world no longer presses on our shoulders. The experience cleanses our beleaguered souls, reenergizes our spirits and our resolve, uplifts our hearts, and reminds us that the glass can be mostly full — if we so will it. The Orchestra and we are one, a metaphor for what might be. The better angels of our nature are with us.

This season, the Boise Philharmonic Association has selected another extraordinary feast of some of the best and most enduring creations in the classical repertoire, featuring Beethoven, Mozart, Ravel, Brahms, Dvorak, Copland, Mendelssohn, Mahler, Strauss, Clara Schumann, and Shostakovich. Their timeless dramatic masterpieces belong to the celebrated wellspring of classical music. But we also seek to replenish our aquifer with new and exciting contemporary works by living composers, Adam Schoenberg’s Orchard in Fog and Zhou Tian’s co-commissioned work celebrating the Transcontinental Railroad’s connection of the East to the West Coast.

Our goal is not only to provide you with outstanding concerts, but to create an array of superb celebrations of our humanness, not a single one of which you will want to miss. With Eric Garcia on the podium and our stellar musicians and Boise Master Chorale on the stage, we promise you an edifying experience to remember — even if you are here just for the sensuous sonic pleasures of our delicious orchestral palette. ENJOY!