When Deborah Sobol and I had our first conversation last summer about my joining the Rush Hour team, I told her about my love of chamber music— and that’s the point at which we really clicked. It’s not just that I like chamber music in the more traditional sense, although I have a particular fondness for piano trios. It is the immediacy and intimacy of being in the presence of people creating art, and of knowing that as an audience member you are critical to the success of the performance. You are close enough to feel the vibrations of the lower instruments, and the musicians can see firsthand their effect on you. It is powerful. I’ve laughed, wept, and hurt my hands applauding at concerts. I leave with the melodies and memories very much in focus, and I often turn to recordings to recreate the feelings I’ve just experienced.
As we are approaching the holidays I’ve given some thought to the soundtrack of my life. We all have one, don’t we? I would like to tell you that my soundtrack is filled with exquisite and peaceful Mozart and Bach recordings, but the truth is that much of what I listen to depends on what I need in that moment spiritually and emotionally.
I have different music for cooking, studying, driving and relaxing. If I need to perk up, I play Paul Simon’s “Negotiations and Love Songs.” Who can remain in a bad mood while listening to “Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard”? There’s no shame in singing along with my kids to their Disney and Veggie Tales recordings, although I confess to leaving my husband and friends slack-jawed with my ability to remember and “sell” such dubious masterpieces as “The Yodeling Veterinarian of the Alps.”
But my meditative music right now is Eva Cassidy’s “Songbird.” I could listen to this recording in almost any setting and get a great deal out of it. I’ve found myself both dancing and weeping along with it. It is not spiritual in the sense of a higher being, but in the sense of being at peace with and taking time for my spirit.
As Thanksgiving and all of the various winter holidays approach, I am taking time to be mindful and nourish my spirit with the music that speaks to me. We here at Rush Hour wish you a peaceful holiday next week.
If you get a moment, please leave a comment below and tell us your favorite recording for “feeding the spirit.”
– Megan Balderston