I would think that most of us have had musical experiences that have dramatically affected, if not impacted our lives; perhaps a top 5 list of favorite musical memories.  Funny thing for me is that I didn’t even play in two of my top five musical moments.  One, was my first concert hearing Herseth live, (Harris 3rd sym.) which made me decide to check out the whole classical world after being a jazzer up till that point.

The other was hearing a recording of Mahler 2 – The Resurrection.  Shortly after my aforementioned Herseth experience I continued on to grad school to get my masters at U of Akron with Scott Johnston.  I can’t remember now but for some reason I had to be in Ohio rather early which meant leaving Wisconsin around 3am.  I packed my 73 Ford Pinto with everything I owned and headed east to live on my own for the first time pursuing a career (orchestral trumpet) that was a very new thing for me.  (Up until that point I always figured I would be living in New York playing with Art Blakey at this time in my life.)  Yep, going from one naive dream to another I suppose…  Anyway, back to the trip.  My undergrad teacher Bob Levy, gave me a going away gift of a recording of Mahler 2 so I popped it in for the drive.  At around 5am I passed Chicago and was heading due east through Indiana.  After driving a few hours the sun rose right at the same moment my recording came to rehearsal 11 in the 5th movement.  This is about an hour into this very dramatic, dark, immense work when Mahler parts the clouds with the horns and his sky opens up.  I’m not personally a religious person but this is the best musical depiction of the resurrection scene I could possibly imagine.  Well, with all this newness and unrest going on in my life and then the timing of the sunrise and climatic Mahler moment I had to pull over I was so shaken.  Music can be some pretty powerful stuff.

I had the privilege of playing Mahler 2 this week with Madison Symphony and I have to say that this piece still knocks me out.  I’m glad my colleagues in the section are busy and not able to see my face during parts of this work.