Sunday, September 20, 2009

"Who's the greatest?"

Artist: Edgar Degas

In today's gospel reading, the disciples are arguing about which one among them is to be the greatest. I simply want to offer you the following:

Leonard Bernstein, when asked what the most difficult instrument was, answered "2nd fiddle". "Plenty of people want to play 1st violin but to get someone to play second violin or second flute, etc...that's a problem. Yet, without them there is no harmony."

Some of you know that before I entered the religious life, I was a musician by trade. And for most of my career I played first oboe -- I guess because that's what I was ususally hired to do and because it fit my "musical personality" (or so I was told). But toward the end of my career I started being offered some very nice second oboe jobs and I accepted them (with my long-term teacher's enthusiastic encouragement because he contended that playing second was considerably harder than playing first). What a wonderful adventure! Playing second (and doing it well) requires much more artistic maturity, much more attention to subtlety and nuance. There is a different kind of satisfaction involved and it's truly very lovely.

Think about it.


No comments:

Post a Comment

New policy: Anonymous posts must be signed or they will be deleted. Pick a name, any name (it could be Paperclip or Doorknob), but identify yourself in some way. Thank you.