I was recently invited to write a short remembrance of Patrick Flynn, late conductor of the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra, for the liner notes of the CD of their recent concert including music by Coates, Vaughn Williams, Walton, Holst and Elgar.
The music sounds great: mid-Michigan is so lucky to have such great musicians! Unfortunately, the disc is not commercially available, so I thought I’d reprint my notes here:
A nearly full moon rises from the mountain pass at Pine Creek. A vibrant, rainbow-hued corona surrounds it due to the haze of distant wildfires. From my CD player comes a heartbreaking Adagio of Mozart’s performed by the SBSO in March, 2008. In my mind, I see Patrick drawing out the music – craftfully pulling golden threads from each musician and weaving them into this tapestry of light. It looks like the moon that fills my window in a cabin 1,700 miles from the Temple Theatre and that stage, and that podium. But music created and performed with such passion can erase those miles with a single note. We are able to travel through time and space, through memories and dreams. For a too-short time, Patrick was our guide on this journey.
However, music’s ability to elude time and space means that he’s still with us: In each musician’s fingers, in each listener’s ear, in the hearts of all of us. These golden threads of music are also threads that connect us to each other. We’re all part of the same tapestry, travelers on the same journey.
The Adagio has ended, but the disc you are holding proves that the music, and the spirit of Patrick, the passion he inspired, live on. The moon is now hidden by clouds, but I know it’s still there, as bright as ever.
The Grizfork Studio, southwestern Montana