I wasn’t in the mood for two periods of music.
You glanced around the class. I could see you summing up this new class. This wasn’t the career choice you envisioned. Teaching sacred classical music to Clydeside kids who were only interested in the Beatles and the Stones was not why you spent those years at university.
But here you were with your flannels with turnups and a Harris Tweed jacket thinking you better make the best of it. I’m sorry, Sir, I don’t recall your name.
You went over to the record player and removed a ’78 from its sheath.
“Let’s go on a journey, boys,’ you said.
“Journey?” I wondered.
“Allegretto pastoral is what this music symbolises. Absorb the sound of the countryside; the sound of the flutes as they liaise and resonate with clarinets in fluid harmony saluting the rising sun. Listen as the flute and the oboe sing like two morning birds; the bassoon as it brings morning to a close and a new day begins.
You stood there whilst Morning was playing and observed each one of us being caught in the moment. It was spiritual. Apart from the gentle music rising in a lazy, sustained crescendo, it was the first time I heard such silence in a classroom. After school that day, I scampered to the library to find books on, Norway, trolls, Peer Gynt, The Hall of the Mountain King, and Edvard Greig. You made me believe I was born in the wrong place. I’m still convinced I was.
You, the unknown teacher with the tweed jacket, you changed my life in ways you never dreamed.
Tusen takk from Norge 1999.
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