There is a point in Debussy's La Mer where, for a moment, the stage is transformed into the deck of a storm tossed ship. The violins panic like oarsmen, the cellos flounder, the bass growls like the sea. Roused from the deep, drums batter against the prow. The blast of the trumpets is a shrill, shrill wind, tearing the masts of the silence. The seats of the auditorium rise row upon row, like a great wave, towering above the struggling orchestra. The flutes cry out for mercy and the conductor, like some dishevelled captain, gesticulates wildly, trying to control the fury of the tempest, his instructions lost in the music's roar.
The hallucination passes, the scene grows still, you remember where you are. But the blood still pounds in the seashell of your heart, and the song on your lips tastes a little like salt.
An incredible double bill by the Philadelphia Orchestra tonight. Debussy's Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune and La Mer, followed by seething and boundless energy of Schubert's Ninth.
There's just something about Ninth Symphonies, isn't there?