While I am not particularly great at playing piano or flute, I do a passable imitation if I can read the music. I’m a better mimic than craftsman, I suppose, which always irked my music tutors to no end. Both my step-grandfather and my mother played piano, and it was supposed that I should be taught to do the same. However I did absolutely everything to get out of it–it made me miserable. It doesn’t help that my hands are small with short little fingers: as an adult it is stretching my limits to reach an octave which, in piano playing, is a necessity. Although I love music, playing it just isn’t my cup of tea.
The funny thing is that my own mother, for all her harping at me to practice, was not one for the technicalities of music. She fudged her way through songs by focusing on the chords and taking liberties rather than following things as they were written. It always felt like this fudging stemmed from her preference for playing church hymnal music rather than a love of playing the piano; the piano acted as a stress-release. I always knew when she played the piano for herself it was because she was upset or anxious or could find nothing better to occupy her time.
But, grandpa, now that man was a musician! He grew up with piano lessons and practiced endlessly because it was something he really loved doing, but he was expected to take over the family business so it remained in the background. The piano he played when I was little now sits in my basement; I swear every time I pass it I hear Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2 by Franz Liszt–I always liked him to play it because it sounded so dramatic in a little house. Staying with my grandparents was like having a two hour personal concert every day where I sometimes got to pick the music.
So, as I am thinking of my grandpa today and it is Clara Schumann’s birthday according to Google, here is some beautiful music.
And, because I love it so much, the Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2: