Monday, February 15, 2010


Searching for music to download tonight I came across a piece from my past. Listening to this concerto brought back years of memories in a matter of seconds- and the music seemed fresh in my mind as though it hasn't been ten years since I've heard it! It's strange to me how profound a reaction music can provoke. (Do you ever contemplate the mystery of how a certain combination of sound waves interpreted by the brain can actually incite tears or joy? 'Cause I do. And how would the people of thousands of years ago have reacted if they suddenly heard a Beethoven symphony? Are we conditioned to have a positive response to tonal music by our nurturing and inescapable exposure to western tonality? Or are our brains wired by nature to have a positive response to tonal harmonies by virtue of how the sound waves interact with our biology? And how is it that I can literally cry every time I hear the final phrases of La Boheme, even though I've heard it a million times.) Anyway, I've found myself longing to be as fine a pianist as I was years ago, and listening to this Saint-Saens concerto actually hurt a little! I used to be able to play it.... But I made the decision long ago to focus on vocal music, realizing that in order to be a professional working musician, you realistically have to focus your efforts on the area in which you aim to succeed. And spending the vast majority of my time teaching leaves little room for practicing even voice. Now I'm afraid many of my piano-playing muscles have atrophied, and when I play for too long, I even get a sharp pain in my right hand (could I be getting old?) So tonight I'm feeling a little like I'm mourning for a beautiful piece of my life that for such a long time seemed to define who I was. A little dramatic? Well, that's typical of me.... Yes, I can still play the piano, and play it pretty well. But listening to the mastery of someone like Arthur Rubinstein (in the video below) makes me wish I could play with such precision and beauty, a level of skill that can only be reached with a lifetime's worth of dedication and discipline. Will I one day be described as someone who was "once a great pianist?" I certainly hope not! As long as I still have fingers I guess there's a chance I'll somehow find the time to keep my talent alive! But for now, I'll have to live vicariously through YouTube videos. Is there anything in your life you wish you hadn't lost like me?

No comments:

Post a Comment