Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Meaning of Life... Cellos???

I have discovered the meaning of life. It happened during the inauguration yesterday, yet it has nothing to do with politics.

I have seen it before, but I didn’t really understand its significance until yesterday.

It became even more powerful to me when I was forced to try to explain it in spoken words to Gail this morning.

YO-YO MA provided my epiphany yesterday. He is the cellist who performed with the quartet immediately before Obama took the oath of office. The sight of Yo-Yo Ma playing the cello was a vision of joy and perfection.

This morning Gail asked why I was so moved by it. The answer is:

Watching Yo-Yo Ma play cello was exactly like watching Big Brown run at the Preakness.


There are key moments in life where we get to see someone doing on a world stage what he was born to do. Yesterday, Yo-Yo Ma played cello before the largest audience of his life, and his face radiated the look of passion and joy that showed for that moment, he owned the world. His face said, “Regardless of what has come before…regardless of what the future holds…at this moment in time I am experiencing the performance of my life, and I am loving every minute of it.”

Loosely paraphrasing author Terry Davis, it is a glorious thing to watch another creature achieve perfection. For these rare moments allow mere humans to share the sight of one of our own, basking in joy as they do on a very big stage the one thing they were born to do. And our witness of their achieving perfection manages to pick us all up a little and propels us to a better place.

The meaning of life is achieving your moment of perfection that makes the entire world, if only for a blink, a better place to be.

6 comments:

sugarmaker said...

That's a great take on an amazing man. I had a similar reaction. I remarked to my wife how his face was lit up like a child's as though partaking in something of wonder and joy.

I've seen him live, as well as Itzhac Perlman, and they both have had this look each time I've seen them. It is truly a joy to witness, as their passion is shared in that performance. You cannot help but to feel it when they play.

The clarinetist, Anthony McGill, also had a superb tone, and played through his parts with amazing sonic clarity and purity.

On the lighter side, one of my favorite performances from Mr. Ma was with Edgar Meyer, Mark O'Connor (and others, like James Taylor and Alison Krauss) on the album "Appalachian Journey." Great music to share with friends.

Anonymous said...

I think what you actualy saw on his face was relief that everyone believed that he was actually playing live.

The latest rumor is that the performance was done a la Ashlee Simpson. It was recorded at a marine barracks the day before because the artists, as talented as they are, were afraid they wouldn;t be able to perform properly in the cold weather.

Jeff Skiver said...

I just read this news story about the Milli Vanilli thing.

Apparently at 30 degrees the piano wouldn't stay in tune for more than a couple of hours.

They did say, however, that the quartet actually played...but you had to be within 25 feet to hear them.

Still...wasn't Yo-Yo's expression of glee better than the little jig that Ashlee Simpson danced for the SNL audience as her tape went screwy?

JasonB said...

Similar to watching UK's Jodie Meeks score 54 points against Tenn last week.

Go Cats!

sugarmaker said...

This has nothing to do with your post, but... so what.

Just wanted to let you know that due to your unbridled enthusiasm for all things Lie-Nielsen, I have now made my first purchases of their product. I figured if anyone gets that excited, something must be worth it there.

Up til now, I've had an old Stanley piece of junk that contains a blade that has never approximated anything close to what could be called even with the throat. It was always at an angle and always moving around on me. Therefore, it's been nothing more than a hack tool.

So, after chatting for a while with Matt then Tegan over there at LN, then looking up all manner of reviews, I went for it. I got the No.60-1/2 Low Angle Adjustable Mouth Block Plane, then the No.60-1/2R Rabbet Block Plane. Both staple models. That rabbet plane looks great for cleaning up end grain and tenons.

They threw in free shipping, and a free DVD, plus a scraper set. Very generous, I thought.

Thanks for your support of that company and their tools. I can't wait to put 'em to work. Uh, play.

cgood830 said...

They were actually playing. Although, the sound coming over the speakers was a recording. So, only the people actually sitting on the podium heard them. It's a pretty common thing to do in live performances like that.
That being said, it was an incredible piece and performance.