Stephen Horenstein
Music, Arts and Society

Summer’s Symphony

5AM. Summer’s symphony. Songs we know. Songs we don’t. New ones. Bold ones. Gentle, sometimes raspy, noble, infinitely changing. Early morning cars roar like beasts, mouths open for the kill, but they soon subside. The kaleidoscope of birdsong bursts forth.  The sounds create a strange 3D panorama, rocking the morning, inviting the ear to penetrate the vertical silences between the birdsong layers.  We can almost “touch” the sounds.  They flutter away, then back.  Our left brains analyze which, where, when, who?  Our right brains simply sigh. Each crevice of the choir has its own perspective, vantage point, coloration, splayed across the morning’s morning sanctuary.   Quick! Enjoy it before the next car roars, shattering the gentle ebb and flow of sounds,  inundating the gentle breathes (the birds, ours). But soon the choir returns! Blessed symphony! Bravo to all singers who don’t know how beautiful they sing. Bravo to a few who never repeat themselves.

Kitchen sounds. Damn the electric generators, fridges, clocks!  Their false frowns permeate the air with foul stench.

Praise the singers of the mornings!  They know not what they sing. Bravo! Praise them, for their beauty is beyond compare.

Some sing one note sambas; others, home-spun ditties, blossoms of endless pitch, rhythm, intervals and curves, multi-colored rainbows fading into early morning’s mauve.

Suddenly the car roars return, like fearful predators awoken from dreamless slumber, blotting out all quietude and grace.  They soon dominate. The singers will soon find other homes, while continuing their tree grazing flight, ignoring the mighty roars like horses with blinders.  To them the roars are only temporary annoyances, for their own songs echo in 360 timeless degrees.

Homo sapiens “direct-us” crowds march to morning’s work beat. Their steps are steely reminders that summer’s symphony is not timeless. Before fading, they will flatten August’s pale earth. Their heat will dull the songs, fading them like bright orange mu-mus turning mum.

But rejoice! How rare is our cup of hearing this morning!  How rare are the players of this morning’s symphony!  How blessed we are to be able to hear beyond the pale, until our brave heroes find other perches, while soon it’s afternoon, then evening.  See! They simply fly away into the night, into that screaming black and blue warm blessed fog.

You may hear them! Listen!  They may still linger!…(click link below to listen)

Summer’s Symphony






About the Author
Stephen Horenstein is a composer, researcher and educator. His repertoire of musical works has been performed and recorded worldwide. He has been a recipient of the Israel Prime Minister's Prize for Composers and the National Endowment of the Arts (USA). His teaching has included Bennington College, Brandeis University, Tel Aviv University, Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance; residencies at Stanford University, York University, California Institute of the Arts, and others. He is Founder and Director of the Jerusalem Institute of Contemporary Music, established in 1988 to bring the music of our time to a wider audience.
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