Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hark! Hark! The Lark

Hark! hark! the lark at heaven's gate sings,
And Phoebus 'gins arise,
His steeds to water at those springs
On chalic'd flowers that lies;
And winking Mary-buds begin
To ope their golden eyes;
With everything that pretty is,
My lady sweet, arise:
Arise, arise!

This is Shakespeare's song which was set to music by Schubert. I like it much better than the very long poem, "The Lark Ascending" by George Meredith. However, at the Cape Cod Symphony this afternoon I herd Ralph Vaughn Williams' tone poem The Lark Ascending preceded by a local wild life specialist telling us that our local larks are different than the English ones Vaughn Williams had in mind and that, indeed, many songbirds, among them larks seem to have local accents in their songs. The Cape Cod larks have somewhat different mating songs than the ones on Nantucket. And truly the local larks too ascend to about 200 feet, sing for some twenty minutes before coming back to earth. Such information I did not expect from going to a symphony concert.

The concert was a further educational experience because whale scientists, photographers and sound recorders were there and spoke of the 325 right whales that summer near here. They had put together a video of whales as well as recordings of their vocalizations which was played during a performance of Alan Hovaness' And God Made Great Whales. Amazing photography and sound!

The concert ended with Beethoven's beloved Sixth Symphony, the "Pastorale" in a heartfelt rendition with still photos illustrating the sections. The conductor seemed to be in his own state of bliss. Spring is at it's most beautiful here, too, with flowering trees and plants.

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