CBC Radio 2’s show Tempo observed Rememberance Day, fittingly enough, and I caught part of it while driving to work. First I heard Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, 4th movement (Adagietto), adapted for a cello ensemble featuring Shauna Rolston (1). It had so much body, so much texture. I know playing pieces and parts of symphonies is not without its detractors but it seems this is one piece that stands well on its own. A few tracks (and a news broadcast) later, they played a most evocative piece, big forceful orchestra suitable for a mighty army. It put tears in my eyes and I had to sit in the parking lot at work to hear it all. I knew what the composer was doing, and I was totally sucked in. But I had no idea what it was until it was announced: It was music from the HBO series Band of Brothers (2). I never saw the series, but the music just blew me away.
But what came next was from left field. I finally shut off the radio and walked across the parking lot to the west door of the office building. Off to my right, over the soccer fields, a hawk circled, edging closer to me. I watched as I walked. It then straightened out and picked up speed heading east. There was a break in the clouds and I lost the hawk as it crossed the bright sky behind the pine trees near the door. I kept walking, onto the brick sidewalk next to the building … and suddenly the hawk was swooping upward on my side of the trees by the building entrance! It had been maybe 15 yards ahead of me and 7-8 feet off the ground, as if it was landing and changed its mind, or at least intentionally doing a fly-by. It was so close I could hear the noise of its wings as it pivoted and rose. It got to about treetop level—short trees, though, only about 15-20 feet—and continued north, behind me. I couldn’t identify it; buteo for sure, fairly light in color. Immature red tail, or something else? In a way it doesn’t matter. It sure was something to see.
2. London Metropolitan Orchestra, conducted by the composer Michael Kamen http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=392091