Monday, November 3, 2014

Fleeing Qatar with Bach Fugues



The "stage" at Katrin's house

Tonight my husband and I attended a musical soiree at my cello teacher's house, a gathering of about 40-50 people to hear a concert.  There would be no cost, she said, but just bring some food to fill a long table.   When we entered the patio entrance to her house, she had unrolled a red carpet on the front steps, with rows of candles on each side glistening in the darkness.  People from many areas of the world had intersected at this home to be transported to another place tonight, to hear Baroque music that would fill their souls.

Katrin, my teacher, who is from Dresden, Germany, is a professional musician.  She thrills in gathering not only audiences, but also other professional musician friends together to perform.  Her musical preference leans strongly to Bach since she directs the Bach Oratorio here in Qatar.  Upon our arrival, we noted several other Qatar Philharmonic string players were standing in front of her harpsichord, ready to play some some Bach fugues.
Katrin, the cellist in the Baroque Ensemble
Her two small children slowly pulled the chords to open red curtains, unveiling the "stage" for the performers.  A few toddlers rustled, and even whimpered, but the Baroque music eclipsed any commotion.   Everyone sitting on make-shift benches and chairs in Katrin's living room were transformed to another place, another world--far from the desert of the Persian Gulf (fugue in Latin actually means "to flee").  As they played the various melodies that wove together in counterpoint, there were smiles and nods among the performers, and at the end, Katrin wryly said, "We made it.  If you get lost in a Bach fugue, you will never catch up.  You will be lost forever."  I guess you could say we fled to another place, but we didn't get lost....  

After the concert, Katrin came to me and said, "Don't you have two boys here, and one with autism?"  I wanted to meet them, especially the one with autism.  Please bring him next time."  And then she said again, "Please, " with a pleading look.  I was touched by her repeated invitations for him to come.  I told her that indeed he would be there next time.

One of the great gifts about having a child with disabilities is that one can see more clearly into the souls of others.  I always consider it a blessing to view the kind, gentle, loving ways of people who   pull my child with autism into the fold.  Katrin is a mesmerizingly remarkable musician who knows how to gather people who love music and want to flee, if just for an hour, to a European concert hall. She is also a gifted teacher.  But more importantly, she is, in my opinion, an amazing human being.

As a mother of a boy with autism, it is one of my favorite windows to view: people who deliberately throw out the net, so to speak, to gather all who will come.   These glimpses never fail to choke me up every time.