I heard an interesting quote while watching a documentary recently. "Architecture is frozen music" (Goethe) and "Music is a fluid architecture of sound." (Roy Harris) This interplay of music and architecture carried me back to the Stratford Farewell concert of Jamie Klassen and Megan Franken on August 13 at St. James church. That evening I was struck by a quote inscribed in gold across the front of the sanctuary. "I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10)
Savouring the expansive romanticism of Brahms' Intermezzos, I allowed myself to absorb the atmosphere of this historic church. The beautiful stained glass windows, including small ones placed at the top of each gothic arch to catch the sunlight, the elegant castings on the lecturns in the chancel and the lovely banners adorning the walls made me realize once again how abundant our life is here in Stratford.
I have the freedom to wander across town on a sunlit evening to hear amazing talent on a beautiful instrument and to listen, centuries after his lifetime, to the mathematical intricacies of Bach's Preludes and Fugues. Closing my eyes I could envision the Roaring 20's flappers dancing the Charleston to the ragtime frivolity of Scott Joplin. For me, the piece de resistance was the fluid line and harmonic undercurrents of Liszt's Grand Etude in D flat major, "un sospiro" (Italian for "a sigh"), a nickname given to the composition by those who no doubt like me, felt their spirits breathe with the rise and fall of the melody.
Yes, frozen music, fluid architecture, abundant life... all in Stratford on a summer evening.
Farewell, Jamie and Megan. May you enjoy abundant living as you pursue your dreams. We hope you will invite us to once again experience "the fluid architecture of sound" if you ever come back this way.