On Valentine’s Day my Valentine and I had the pleasure of attending a St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO) concert of Neruda Songs and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. Check out the SPCO website for information about FREE family concerts (thanks to Target) throughout the season (next up: 2/21, 3/7 and 4/11).
And because it’s never too late for love–especially love of the musical variety, especially of the SPCO Valentine’s Day concert variety–here are five short love stories for your reading pleasure.
First SPCO concert love story: The evening featured an amazingly talented mezzo-soprano singer, Kelley O’Connor. She sang the 9th and also American composer Peter Lieberson’s “Neruda Songs,” a work written for the composer’s wife, which captures the intimacy and tenderness of Pablo Neruda’s original poetry. After his wife’s passing, Lieberson hand-selected acclaimed mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor to perform the work, and she joins the SPCO as soloist here (bold type courtesy of SPCO program).
Oh, my goodness: so many kinds of love. And beauty. In Neruda’s poems…
Now, you are mine. Rest with your dream inside my dream.
Love, pain, and work, must sleep now.
Night revolves on invisible wheels
and joined to me you are pure as sleeping amber.
…in Lieberman’s music, in Kelley O’Connor’s singing. And you can rid yourself right now of the notion of the larger-than-life operatic singer: Kelley O’Connor’s instrument–her body–is a marvel of strength and fitness. I’m so glad she never got the memo about midriff-baring dresses in Minneapolis in February.
Second SPCO concert love story: Next to me sat a man, 30- or 40-ish, maybe a little bit on the nebbishy side. I don’t know why he came alone to a concert on Valentine’s Day but I don’t think I have to worry about him because I could tell he had a wonderful evening. The word that comes to mind is rapt and while the dictionary defines this as “complete fascination with what one is seeing or hearing” I would also add “feeling,” because the night was SOOO frigid outside, the venue so warm, so full of rapture inside. Yes, it was SRO for the rapt on Valentine’s Day in St. Paul, singles and couples and families alike.
Third SPCO concert love story: Who can resist the account of a completely deaf Beethoven needing to be turned around by one of his musicians so that he could see (he was that far beyond hearing) the thundering ovation by the audience?
Fourth SPCO concert love story: And who can resist these words from Ode to Joy?
Be embraced, you millions!
This kiss is for the whole world!
Brothers, above the canopy of stars
must dwell a loving father.
Do you bow down before Him, you millions?
Do you sense your Creator, o world?
Seek Him above the canopy of stars!
He must dwell beyond the stars.
Last (and best) SPCO love story: Mine. Thank you, Valentine. Looking forward to 35 more years together. And yes, I have already finished A Spool of Blue Thread, by Anne Tyler. I hope Heaven is more than a collective consciousness, although I would settle. And while the boy on the train cries without solace, all is forgiven and surely it is never too late for love.