As I pulled into the college, the second movement, titled "Spirit Lake", completed its calm meditations and the third movement was beginning. At the beginning of the third movement, soft and mesmerizing strings lightly fade into silence, dappled with accents of glockenspiel. The music had thus receded into the background and out of my awareness just as I was pulling into a parking space, looking rapidly in all directions to manuever between two cars and on the alert for Thomas College student pedestrians. Right as I was turning tightly and easing into the space came the tremendous, solitary thwack on the tympani that signifies the eruption of the volcano. One solid blow delivered with all the force the tympanist can muster. Since my stereo, with its 6x9 rear speakers was turned up so high, this was quite a treat. I physically jolted in response, and my first thought was that a gunshot must have just shattered my back window or something. I am confident I exclaimed loudly and profanely in wonderment over the source of the noise and whether my safety was threatened. A half-second later, I realized it was the musical reenactment of volcanic pyrotechnics and I immediately dissolved into adrenaline-fueled laughter. As my car came to a stop in its space (fortunately my foot had not slipped off the clutch when Mount St. Helens blew her stack), I continued chuckling in delight and shaking my head in amazement at how awesome music can be.
Thank you, Alan Hovhaness, for such a musical delight.