Saturday, February 26, 2011

An Old Friend

I am a pianist. I'm one of those who majored in piano performance in college, only to drift away from the challenge of rigorous practicing after graduation. As work, and marriage, and babies came along, there was no time for laboring over Chopin or Brahams several hours a day. Occasionally I'd pick up the old music, the old friends. But occasional practice is no good for that kind of music. The relationship was rusty.
Yesterday I turned to a very old friend, Mr. Brahams's sixth intermezzo in his Opus 118. I memorized and performed the entire opus my sophomore year, in my recital. I learned this one last, the hardest one. But -- oh, so beautiful. And since I learned it last, it faded from memory first, and then from skill. I knew the re-acquaintance would be painful. I would be clumsy and awkward. At first I wouldn't remember the song's nuances of personality, the little expressions and turns that make it unique. But what a pleasure to discover them all again, even with fumbling fingers! Just like a long-lost, old friend.
If you'd like to hear it played (by someone else!), here it is:



Memories. Some things are committed to memory better than others. A lover's face. A special place. A precious moment. Tender words. And music -- music in the memory, truly in the memory, is a burr that cannot be removed from the cloth it's embedded in. I think some of this music is carved into my soul.
Thank you, old friend.

1 comment:

  1. I know exactly what you mean about music. I can still play from memory the pieces I memorized in high school. They weren't nearly as hard as the Brahms. I couldn't play that in a million years.

    I've rediscovered the piano again after years of just piddling around. There's something about it that's so soul satisfying.

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