Friday, August 5, 2011

A Whole Lot More Impressive Than The Unbegun One

I had the stomach for neither news nor NPR yesterday morning driving to work.  Sometimes too much bad news becomes almost as tiresome as too much deep thought.  So instead of listening to one or the other of my commute regulars, I listened to classical music -- KUSC, the only classical music station in Los Angeles.
I wasn't paying too much attention until Dennis Bartel announced that the next piece would be Symphony No. 8 In B Minor begun but never completed by Franz Schubert and thus known most famously as 'The Unfinished Symphony'.  I wanted to give a good listen to this stopped in the middle of creation composition.  I turned the radio's volume up.  I didn't want to miss a single unfinished note.  I waited for the first of those notes.  The next thing I heard, though, was nothing.  This nothing - this silence - went on for so long that I thought Bartel had changed his mind and was playing the not famous at all piece by Schubert know as 'The Unbegun Symphony'.  Eventually Bartel and his station overcame their technical difficulties and I finished my commute delighted and inspired and captivated by incompletion.
All through the day I wrapped my mind around 'The Unbegun Symphony' and what I might learn from those moments of radio silence.
We all have a symphony or a painting or a novel or an I love you inside us unbegun because we're afraid to say the words or make the commitment or doubt we have the talent or the skills or the energy.  Or maybe we don't begin because we worry we won't have time to finish and heaven forbid we leave something begun but undone.
Here, though, is what I learned from Schubert yesterday morning even though I have no idea why his Symphony No. 8 In B Minor remained unfinished.

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