Mahler’s Ninth

Photo by cottonbro studio on

I was pulling into my garage right at 7pm and the SoCal Sunday Night program was starting on KUSC–the classical music station in Los Angeles that happens to also be run by my university. The started talking about a composer’s final symphony and building up the suspense, but I heard the just a handful of notes in the background and immediately knew they were talking about Mahler’s Ninth Symphony. Had I not been at home, I would have been trapped in my car for over an hour. I rushed into my office and put it on KUSC. They continued talking and I could hear the audience chatter in the background. I quickly made some coffee and sat down just as the concert was about to begin.

I came very close to seeing a live performance of Mahler’s Ninth at Walt Disney Concert Hall a few weeks ago. Under any other circumstance I would have been there for sure, but my father had not yet been buried, and the last time I was at a performance of one of Mahler’s symphonies, I was with my dad. It’s already a symphony that deeply affects me emotionally, and I couldn’t bear to go. Even tonight, my heart ached while listening to the performance of Mahler on the radio. My mom and I were talking about how my dad’s the reason we both love classical music. We both used to say how boring KUSC was when I was very little. Fast forward to now, and both my mom and I have each been to over five hundred performances, and we’d tear up during the pandemic when there were no performances.

So thank you, dad, for leaving my mom and me this wonderful passion to remember you by for the rest of our lives until we meet again.

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