Sunday, February 22, 2009

A New Take on an Old Invention



Today’s piano group “Works in Progress” ended on an interesting note. Hal, the host, had an entirely new take on the Bach Inventions.

A month ago I could not have pictured myself even showing up for this monthly gathering of amateur musicians who get together more or less monthly on Capitol Hill to entertain one another.

But I left myself plenty of time to drive to the beautiful house on the Hill where we were meeting, plenty of time to get up the front steps, plenty of time to try out the piano ahead of time.

When it was our turn Deborah and I played our Bottesini concerto, actually getting to the end without having to backtrack and start over, although leaving out her difficult cadenza this time. We’ll play it again next month, a little more polished.

I then played the Chopin mazurka I’ve been working on, once again reasonably well, at least well enough to put the dog and two 9-year-olds to sleep.

When it was Hal’s turn, he announced that he would play Bach’s Invention #13. But first he told a story about the piece that only a psychiatrist could “invent”. He described it as a dialog between a trial lawyer and a therapist, in which each becomes agitated and at one point learn to talk to each other. He gave it to us blow by blow and then played the piece, which was true to his description.

You never know what gems you are going to take away from this meeting of friends. But an added benefit of today’s session was the knowledge that I can now negotiate regular toilets. Life is indeed returning to normal.

11 Comments:

Blogger Kristin said...

I really admire the way that you are always learning, always growing and changing and trying new things. It's an inspiration.

10:20 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin -- You mean like trying lower toilets? :)

11:22 PM  
Blogger karen said...

how marvellous, Barbara! Thanks, I'm learning things from people like you all the time! i've been catching up backwards on your posts & you seem to be doing so well.. and congrats on the loo seat thing! :-)

2:10 AM  
Blogger tut-tut said...

Well, you seem to have so many talents, Barbara! A new hip seems to be just a blip on your screen at this point.

My WV: mists!

1:43 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Karen -- It is rather comical how progress is sometimes measured.

Tut-tut -- I love the idea of the new hip being a blip on the screen. I'll just have to keep telling myself that!

1:47 PM  
Blogger Cinnamon said...

Hi Barbara,
I just remembered that you suggested the first book for the Virtual Book Club- are you going to join?

6:03 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Cinnamon -- I confess to being a little out of the loop, but could someone please tell me how to join the virtual book club? I tried to go to the site but a message said I had to be a member, so HELP!!!

7:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your description of Hal's rendition of the Invention made me laugh!
Have you by any chance ever played "Pictures at an Exhibition?"
Hey, a raised toilet seat doesn't sound bad to me, and I don't even have a new hip! :-)
F.

9:50 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Anon -- I love Pictures at an Exhibition, especially "The Great Gate of Kiev." But I've never seen the music or tried to play it. I often dream about how much fun it would be to play a piece like that with an orchestra!

10:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll send you a photocopy once I find it; I looked for it yesterday for you but couldn't put my finger on it. You'll be able to play a number of the pieces fairly comfortably, I think! I love it, too, in part for its conception and role as an early example of multi-media.

F.

3:04 PM  
Blogger Adrianne said...

Hal who lives on 7th Street beside Sen. Dodd and has a gorgeous German shepherd dog? If so, yet another person we know in common (although he never seems to remember who I am).

3:33 PM  

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