The Music of My Life, 2/01/12 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #119)

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|

(2)     Essential Mozart:  Rondo Alla Turca (High Quality), video by ClassicalMusicOnly

(3)     IRENE CARA – OUT HERE ON MY OWN (from FAME), video by bsedits

(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  and an image of a piano similar in size to my piano was found at

(7)     Chopin Nocturne Op.9 No.2 (Arthur Rubinstein), video by rmannion


About Gratiana Lovelace

Gratiana Lovelace is my nom de plume for my creative writing and blogging. I write romantic stories in different sub genres. The stories just tumble out of me. My resurgence in creative writing occurred when I viewed the BBC miniseries of Elizabeth Gaskell's novel North & South in February 2010. The exquisitely talented British actor portraying the male lead John Thornton in North & South--Richard Crispin Armitage--became my unofficial muse. I have written over 50 script stories about love--some are fan fiction, but most are original stories--that I am just beginning to share with others on private writer sites, and here on my blog. And as you know, my blog here is also relatively new--since August 2011. But, I'm having fun and I hope you enjoy reading my blog essays and my stories. Cheers! Grati ;-> upd 12/18/11
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13 Responses to The Music of My Life, 2/01/12 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #119)

  1. Kitty says:

    How wonderful to be able to sit down @ your piano, place your fingers on the keys & express what speaks to your soul. I know it’s wrong of me to be, but I am envious. My sister is a pianist; she has a baby grand in her living room and a console upstairs. She is so talented. A relative once asked me why I didn’t do something (of worth); that cut me to the core. My dear old Pop gave me a beautiful console in ’92 but my teacher couldn’t make me understand about the fingering (for some of us, the proverb about old dogs/ new tricks applies) and I never learned to play. I can hunt and peck out the alto notes of a song I’m learning, but that’s as far as it goes. I’m glad appreciation for music doesn’t come w/ a prerequisite to be able to play an instrument. When you are Doctor Gratiana PhD, perhaps you will once again have the time to give attention to making music again.


    • Good morning Kitty,
      Thank you for your lovely note. And don’t let pesky relatives undermine your feelings of self value. It sounds to me that he/she was envious of you. And rightfully so, because you are a dear sweet soul who would never say such a harsh thing as was said to you. Kindness can be taught–but with you, it is central to your heart. And kindness and compassion are more worthy than anything else in my estimation.

      I have so many activities I wish to do, but time constrains me–as you alluded to regarding my doctoral research project now needing to be scheduled into my day. But, my script story and other writing and music feed my soul–an expression of my soul as you so aptly put. Music is both soothing and energizing for me.

      And though I can play music and my hubby can not–he is far more versed in classical and contemporary symphonic music than I am, since he listens to it daily. So yes indeed, the appreciation of music does not require the ability to play music–just the will to embrace it.

      Have a wonderful day! Cheers! Grati ;->


  2. Fabi says:

    Hi Grati,
    If you had piano lessons for ten years, I think you reached a good technical level then. My parents wanted me to learn music, but at the age of eight I simply hadn’t the necessary discipline and quit after two years. It haven’t to be a struggle, have it? :)
    I love the classics, mainly Mozart, Bach, Vivaldi, Haendel, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven. They are my constant company at work, but when I do house cleaning it has to be pop music. Me and dear hubby have a special playlist to rock our romantic moments together. Music is essential!


    • Fabi,
      Skill is relative. The girl across the street when I grew up later performed in international piano and organ competitions and earned her Ph.D. in music. So, I was always comparing myself against her–though I shouldn’t have.
      Glad to hear that you love the classics, too!
      Cheers! Grati ;->


  3. bccmee says:

    Such wonderful memories. I’m looking forward to reading your “new” memories as time passes by.


  4. Dear Grati, I have always loved the piano and tho’ I never learned to play, it has always been a dream of mine. I enjoy the classics but have no education in that area. Maybe not too oddly, but I started appreciating the classics as a child through Bugs Bunny cartoons. LOL In chorus, I learned to love show tunes and a choir once we sang Bruckner’sTa Daeum. Not easy to sing in Latin :-) I loved it! Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories. I love to hear you play sometime. Perhaps you could record something and upload to Vimeo with RA pics to go along :-)


    • Ooh Jeannie,
      Like RA said about his cello playing at this point similar to screeching cats (Ha!), I would need to practice mightily to be video worthy. But, that’s a lovely thought and I will take it under advisement. Maybe a little Saint-Saens will do.
      Cheers! Grati ;->


  5. Ania says:

    Hi Grati,
    Thank you for sharing your memories. Unfortunately I can’t play any musical instrument (it seems that my brother, who plays the accordion, he received all the musical talent which was available for the two of us ;-) ) So I envy you that you have the ability to play the piano. I really would like to hear how you play your favorite song.*sigh*
    But, I really love music, any music, classical, pop, rock, etc.. Depending on my mood (and believe me that I can even listen to Kanye West, LOL, that by the delicateblossomvideo’s fanvid with RA)
    BTW, unfortunately I cannot watch the video “Fame 1980 …” by botticelli375 :-(


    • HI Ania,
      Thanks for your nice note. Yes, my receiving piano lessons was such a gift of music to my life. I was also in school and church choirs as a 2nd soprano. Though now, I’m more of an alto. When I sing along with the Misty Mountains Cold video, my voice blends in nicely with RA’s. Ha! I’ll have to practice my piano before I’m worthy of recording it. Ha!
      It sounds like you enjoy music, too. That’s great! I’m sorry you couldn’t view the FAME video. Was it blocked for your country? I’ll see if I can find an alternative file to post additionally this evening.
      Cheers! Grati ;->


      • Ania says:

        I checked again by clicking on the link in the references, then opens up the file on YT and I can see it. The song is great. :-) It seems that I can’t see this movie only on your blog, because then I have a message in my language: „umieszczenie filmu na stronach zostało wyłączone na żądanie” which means: “The location of the film on sides was switched off on the demand”,weird isn’t it?


        • Hi again Ania,
          I’m glad you were able to view the video. I tend to watch vids in You Tube anyway–by clicking on the You Tube icon in the lower right hand corner of the video window, and that opens a new window in You Tube.
          Cheers! Grati ;->


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