5 months passed.
It was a chill winter’s night in December. Some dry snow was being swept around on the ground by the swirling breezes blowing through the streets. But inside the City Concert Hall, it was warm and lively. A huge crowd had formed in its lobby which spilled out into the street, waiting to be seated for the premiere of Andrei Gavrilov’s Symphony No. 2, the "Regeneration" Symphony.
Andrei and Nadia were up on the top level in the back, where they would hear everything head on. Together, they had already heard rehearsal performances of it, but they knew it wouldn’t be the same when they would hear it tonight. There would be the human element.
Sitting down, Nadia was immediately met by her best friend, her new sister-in-law who had married her dearest brother that summer.
"Oh I’m so glad you could come, Katerina!" Nadia exclaimed. "Where is my brother?"
"He will be here soon. How are you?"
"Oh, I’ve been well, although fatigued of late..."
"How’s your married life?"
Nadia beamed. "Never been better."
Just then Nadia’s brother Sergei came, and they embraced for the first time in several months. Andrei listened to the whole conversation happily, and joined in:
"This is a great honor that you 2 have given us tonight. Nadia and I have waited so long for this symphony to be performed. Do sit with us for the concert."
Nadia’s brother sat next on her right, while Andrei sat on her left.
Soon, the clock struck the hour, and it was time to begin. The conductor, a good friend of Andrei’s, stepped on stage, and so the symphony began. If Andrei’s symphony could be described in essence, it is a musical journey.
The first movement began with a single, somber theme, followed by painful harmonies. The theme goes through a number of transformations, as if going into darkness and muddled light. Hope seems to rise for a while before it is dashed again. Thus, the exposition movement ends in darkness.
The second movement works like a disastrous scherzo, beginning with a bitter humor that grows more and more sour with adjoining dissonances coming from every instrument in the orchestra. It all collapses into chaos, and yet, a single voice rings out the cyclical theme. All fades again.
The third movement is the masterpiece of the whole work. Like a tragic elegy, a new theme spins out as if weeping for something unknown. Soft dissonances intertwine the melodies, and development takes place slowly but deliberately. Beginning intimately, it reaches a climax with the whole orchestra weeping with its painful melody. Andrei’s favorite orchestral instrument, the solo violin, takes up the cyclical theme of the symphony, and suddenly its association with the 3rd movement’s elegaic melody is made clear: it is the answer to original theme’s question. That insight seems to hit all the players at once, and suddenly, for the first time in the whole symphony, a light seems to arise. The movement ends on a sublimely soft major chord of relief.
The 4th movement begins with the same serene mood, but the energy builds swiftly. The intensity grows to an extreme level until it seems to no longer contain itself anymore, and explodes with a joyful harmony. No longer is the theme from the past recalled, but the theme of the 3rd mvmt is developed in numerous colors and emotions as it asserts its dominance, no longer melancholy but deeply joyful. It all ends with a triumphant anthem, like something worth singing, and light triumphs over darkness with more brilliance than any work ever written before it.
With the symphony’s resounding consonant chord, the audience could not contain how thrilled they were, and there was thunderous applause.
Nadia watched at the crowd below her. When the conductor signaled into the back top level, everyone turned around, cheering loudly. She was overcome with this honor given her and Andrei, and all she could do was bow.
For Andrei, it was something quite different.
As the symphony was performed, Andrei went into a meditation. A very different kind of prayer came to him than what he had prayed before.
"Dear Lord, I give this work to you. I did not make this work in my strength, although I had that intention at the beginning. Forgive me for my pride and unbelief. You inspired me, and therefore it is Yours. To You be the glory, not mine, forever. Amen."
At the end, he lost all his anxiety. Human praise wasn’t what he wanted. He wanted God’s love.
Hearing the cheering and applause that the end, he smiled. It was different sounding, somehow. It didn’t sound like it was all for him, but for the music itself. That was what he wanted all along.
Andrei felt Nadia’s hand in his, and she lifted him to his feet. At his standing there was a great cry from the entire audience. It rained into his ears like a music of his own. He stood back and just closed his eyes.
"Thank you," he prayed.
And almost on queue, something strange happened.
The world seemed to pause for a moment, and all time froze. Andrei opened his eyes.
Like a fog lifting from his senses, the darkness that he had so long known -- changed.
A glow began to fill his long-dead senses. The glow turned into color, and in a matter of seconds, shapes.
Before him stood the stage lit below, with all the musicians standing up, and the conductor too. The entire audience was turned around looking at himself. For the first time, he saw faces.
"Is this a dream?" he thought, blinking.
He turned to his right.
There stood Nadia, beaming at him. Suddenly, her face changed, and she stopped smiling.
But as soon as she said his name, she realized what was happening. Barely audible through the cheering and clapping, Andrei spoke to his beautiful wife who he now saw for the first time in his life: