Summer Nights Passing

This was one of the watercolor paintings I presented at the concert by the New Score Chamber Orchestra last night.  It is based on the composition by Frederic Glesser, Summer Nights Passing.

Summer Nights Passing, watercolor, 29″ x 21″

Before going to the concert, I had written up some comments about each of the pictures I was presenting, but there was no appropriate place to post them in the venue.  My story for this piece was as follows:

Up to now, I have only heard a recording of this piece, so I eagerly look forward to tonight’s performance of Frederic Glesser’s Summer Nights Passing.  (Live music, like art, conveys so much more than a recording or a reproduction!)  His serene melodic lines evoke for me a nostalgia which I have represented by the carefree feeling of a child on a firefly filled evening.

I did not know that Mr. Glesser had written program notes for this piece until they were read just prior to the performance.  I was absolutely stunned when I heard:

In the early to mid 1960’s I was 6 to 8 years old. I do remember where I was, and what I was doing, when all the world learned of the assasination of President Kennedy. However, at that young age I was unable to grasp anything beyond the very superficial understanding of that single event. How could I comprehend the political and idealogical positing of Cold War policies that held the world in a vice-grip. How could I understand the meaning and significance of some Wall built in a strange place called Berlin. It would be many years before I understood that the most horrific series of events during the century had ended a little more than a decade before I was born. And how could I ever hope to understand the meaning and significance of names, places, and phrases like Cuban Missile Crisis, nuclear annilhation, Castro, Khrushchev, or Bay of Pigs. Where in the world was Cuba ? And what was Korea ?

What did I care ? I was only a kid, very young, and of much greater importance were the endlessly euphoric possibilities of the hot summer nights growing up in northwest Ohio. They would begin just around dusk, and last until my mother began calling for me to come home after several hours of darkness. After already spending the entire day outside with my friends, playing, running, jumping, wrestling, climbing, and riding bikes, we would continue on still, but now, around dusk, we could roll in the cool grass, and chase after fireflies too.  It was chasing the fireflies that I remember most. There was no past then, and the future was not significant …. there was just right now, and hundreds of fireflies to chase.

I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Glesser after the performance, and we shared the astonishment that he had musically communicated his ideas so well that I was able to interpret them correctly with a painting.

You can hear the electronic recording that I listened to here, but the music was so much better in a live performance!

6 thoughts on “Summer Nights Passing

  1. Oh, dear Ruth! What a blessing! What an astonishing blessing for you both! I am so glad for you and so sorry I just now read this. Had to find a tissue before I could see to type. Oh, what an amazing thing! Thanks SO much for sharing this, Friend! I’m reblogging if you don’t mind? ❤ K

    • I would be honored for you to reblog this! Thank you, my friend. It was an amazing experience. I was concerned that the composer would find my interpretation trite – chasing fireflies instead of a “serious” subject. I think the lesson I have drawn from this is to continue to be true to my artistic vision, and not worry about what others may think.

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