13 Miles and Running, or, Give Me Body

Today I did a 13-miler in Sligo Creek Park and lands northward and decided to double-check on the post below by whipping out Schubert’s Ninth once I got into Wheaton Regional Park. Yes — it is wonderful running music! And once again I got the ridiculous high that comes from endorphins coursing through my veins, a forest, lambent in the morning, cocooning me in green, and the memory of an orchestra busily pushing the listener’s spirits heavenwards. It’s like an all-consuming ache that contains its own fulfillment. I never get bored or tired of it.

After I completed the finale, still running, I reflected on how, at this point in my life, the park seems like the natural habitat for D. 944 — hearing it in a concert hall, as fun as it would be, would also be something of a letdown, as the concert would lack the additional accoutrements with which I normally experience the symphony. Schumann spoke of the symphony’s “heavenly lengths,” and what’s more heavenly, as lengths go, than 13 miles on a gorgeous day running on a trail alongside a rippling creek?

The best Schubert 9 I’ve ever heard, no contest, was when the Berlin Phil and Simon Rattle came to town six years ago — lean, light, and precise, yet deriving a terrific cumulative force from those virtues, such that the Allegro vivace finale (especially) seemed to lift you out of your seat. If someone told me they were planning a similar performance in New York next week, I’d do my damndest to go, even if it were in a gas station somewhere. But getting to hear and see it, through some dimension-distorting reproduction device, while running in the park would really be the best thing. As will be frequently stated in various forms on this blog, music can engage both the mind and the body, and I love music most when it’s doing both.

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