🎻♫♪ – Symphony No. 5 by Anton Bruckner

List Item: Listen to half of the 1001 Classical Works You Must Hear Before You Die
Progress:
 18/501Title: Symphony No. 5
Composer: Anton Bruckner
Nationality: Austrian
Year:
 1775-1778

As I sat in the box seats that I bought my husband as a birthday present and awaited the concert to start I was struck by one thought: if I hadn’t read Nodame Cantabile we would not be here right now.

I have mentioned it before as to how my reading of this manga series inspired both my husband and myself to start on the 1001 Classical Works list. It’s just cool that because of a manga we ended up watching the Philharmonia Orchestra perform live in a box at London’s Royal Festival Hall.

This is the first time that either of us had been to see a classical piece live (not counting ballet or opera because of the extra theatrical component) so I did wonder how I would end up doing with 80+ minutes of just watching an orchestra play. Honestly, I didn’t expect to be so transfixed, the time just flew by.

Bruckner’s Symphony No. 5 marks the first symphony that I have listened to for the list, as well as the first symphony that I made a conscious effort to listen to. Therefore this has been a real learning experience. I now know that a symphony is usually split into a number of movements (usually four) and features pretty much a whole orchestra. I know it’s silly, but I got a real kick of seeing someone actually playing a bassoon and developed a minor crush on the timpani player whilst watching him pay such loving attention to his massive drums.

I know it’s a cliche to say this about a piece of classical music, but I was genuinely moved whilst watching and listening to this. I listened to this the next day on Spotify and it really wasn’t the same. It did, however, help me to notice just how often the same motif is played in the whole symphony.

Now that I have seen a live orchestra play a symphony it feels like something has split open in my brain. Like, I am already looking for what I could be watching next. Maybe I won’t spring for box seats again right away, but it feels like a waste living in London and not really making proper use of affordable culture.

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