Truly Powerful People (111)

Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Eric is a conductor. He has loved music his entire life and dedicated his long and prosperous career to his love. I have known him superficially for a few years; we crossed paths at dinner parties but have never talked beyond the trivial. Last weekend our paths crossed again, at an engagement party, only this time we sat in a corner and went on a pilgrimage. I forgot we were at a party, I lost track of time, as Eric told me the story of his quest to find the writing shacks where Gustav Mahler composed his symphonies.

Mahler died young. His career was primarily as a conductor and off-season he built shacks away from all other demands and interruptions and did what he most wanted to do: he wrote music. Eric told me that Mahler predicted that his music would not find its audience until 50 years after his death. Some of his music was celebrated in his lifetime; most was not. He has since become one of the most frequently performed and recorded composers of the last century.

Eric wept when he described finding the shack where Mahler’s final works were written. I wept, too because I was standing with him in the Czech mountains as he came upon a clearing and saw the shack for the first time. Thus is the power of story, two men blubbering in the corner of an engagement party, having just discovered a cabin in the woods.

At the end of our pilgrimage Eric quietly told me that one of his compositions would premiere the next day. Had I not been listening carefully I would have missed it; he whispered it so softly, tossed it off so nonchalantly. I asked him to repeat what he just said. In his retirement he was returning to the real heart, the soul of his love for music: he was writing compositions and one of his pieces was to be performed for the first time the next day. He beamed and averted his eyes, so vulnerable and tender was his offering. I cried for the second time so grateful was I to accompany Eric on this part of his pilgrimage.

2 Responses

  1. beautiful, thanks for the journey

  2. Such a wonderful story, David. You made my day.

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