I grew up surrounded by music [(1) right]. My late grandmother Momo–whom I have written about here on my blog–was a sought after amateur opera singer in her community when she was young. And I have some of her musical scores–crumbling though they may be. And I took piano lessons for ten years–mostly classical, but some contemporary tunes thrown in as well. But, that is not to say that I was exceptional at playing the piano–merely serviceable in my mind. Ha! Though for my final piano recital as a junior in high school, I played Mozart’s Rondo Alla Turca, with all the repeats–and from memory. At the time, I thought that it was my crowning achievement. I was technically accurate in my execution–as much as my too short fingers would allow. But, I was so bent on getting done that I kind of raced through it–if you call ten minutes racing through. Remember those repeats. Ha! In hind sight–and with some life experience–I only wish I had played Mozart’s music as soulfully as this brief excerpt [(2) below]:
Essential Mozart: Rondo Alla Turca (High Quality), video by ClassicalMusicOnly
I loved them all then and now–Beethoven (“Moonlight Sonata”), Bach, Teleman, Schumann (“Scenes from Childhood” and “Traumerei”), Chopin, Debussy (“Clair de Lune”) and others. I also enjoyed pithy musical jokes–such as, if it’s not baroque, then don’t fix it. Ha!
But I also enjoyed what was considered contemporary music for me in my teens–especially musicals. In high school choirs, we sang lots of Andrew Lloyd Webber, a little “Cabaret” medley, as well as the classics like Schubert’s Mass in G and Mozart’s Requiem. Have I mentioned that my piano teacher my last two years was also our high school music director? Mr. A saw in me the chance to grow musically and he nurtured it and mentored me. He helped me take my piano playing skills to the next level–for which I will be forever grateful.
One movie musical in my teens really spoke to me on many levels at that time was“Fame” from 1980. The movie was about finding your gifts and following your dreams with those gifts–deep thoughts for kids bouncing around in leotards. I’m guessing that many a young person’s dreams were born in just such a fashion–trying out new things and embracing the possibilities. Here are two songs from Fame that speak to these themes, symbolizing perseverance [(3) below] and celebrating the future that awaits us [(4) below that]:
IRENE CARA – OUT HERE ON MY OWN (from FAME), video by bsedits
Fame 1980 I Sing The Body Electric Sequence HD 1080P, video by botticelli375
And now with so many wonderful videos out there about Richard Armitage and his artistic projects, I’m being introduced to familiar and new music all over again. And lest you think my musical interests are solely for the piano or vocal classics, here is a moving cello and strings version of Pavane by Gabriel Faure that Elvira Sweeney set to a lovely sampling of Richard Armitage Sir Guy of Gisborne clips from the BBC’s Robin Hood series [(5) below]:
“Thing of Beauty” Guy of Gisborne video, Richard Armitage, video by Elvira Sweeney
And now that I reminisce about my musical past and present, it makes me want to unblock access (keeping the doggies out of there) to our piano room and caress the piano keys with some familiar and much loved music. The piano room is really what would be our second bedroom that opens to the great room in our one story ranch style home. It contains my grandmother’s Ivers and Pond baby grand piano [(6) right] that is over 80 years old, maybe more. I have a picture somewhere of a two year old me sitting at the piano in her living room–pretending to plunk away at the keys. Ha! I wouldn’t actually start piano lessons until I was six years old. The piano has been in my care for almost twenty five years now. And I have lovingly had my piano tuned regularly, as well as it receiving a thorough keyboard cleaning–88 keys mind you–by a church friend who was the piano technician at Steinway at one time. And let me tell you, when he pulled the whole keyboard assembly out from the piano, my heart jumped into my throat. But he got it all put back together again. And it sounded great. That was several years ago and I need to get my piano tuned again sometime soon–but it costs as much as two car payments. Ha!
So I will close with one final musical selection–the lilting Chopin Nocturne, since I am writing this essay Tuesday evening and I will soon be off to bed and sleep [(7) below]:
Chopin Nocturne Op.9 No.2 (Arthur Rubinstein), video by rmannion
Pleasant dreams, dear friends.
(1) Sonata music image found at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=sonata&ex=1&origin=FX101741979#ai:MP900431322|
(2) Essential Mozart: Rondo Alla Turca (High Quality), video by ClassicalMusicOnly
(3) IRENE CARA – OUT HERE ON MY OWN (from FAME), video by bsedits http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4mkRwkQRoQ
(4) Fame 1980 I Sing The Body Electric Sequence HD 1080P, video by botticelli375
(5) “Thing of Beauty” Guy of Gisborne video, Richard Armitage, video by Elvira Sweeney; music is Pavane by Gabriel Faure
(6) Some info about Ivers and Pond piano makers can be found at http://www.antiquepianoshop.com/online-museum/ivers-pond/ and an image of a piano similar in size to my piano was found at http://www.conderpiano.com/22%20ivers%20pond%20closed.JPG
(7) Chopin Nocturne Op.9 No.2 (Arthur Rubinstein), video by rmannion