Music in the Morning

For the virtuoso, musical works are in fact nothing but tragic and moving materializations of his emotions: he is called upon to make them speak, weep, sing and sigh; to recreate them in accordance with his own consciousness.  In this way he, like the composer, is a creator, for he must have within himself those passions that he wishes to bring so intensely to life.               ~ Franz Liszt

You see, playing the piano is a combination of Brain, Heart and Means.  And all three should be even.  If one falls short of the others, the music suffers.  Without Brains, you are a fiasco.  Without Means, you are an amateur.  Without Heart, you are a machine.  It has its dangers, this occupation.    ~Vladimir Horowitz

After we have completed our morning routine of Psalm, prayer, poetry, and catechism, we listen to music that can accompany our educational pursuits. Music with lyrics competes with the studies, so it is not part of our morning repertoire.  My son leans towards Lord of the Ring and Pirates of the Caribbean soundtracks and often pops one in the CD player.  However, we both enjoy Bach, George Winston, Phil Coulter, Yo-Yo Ma, Celtic anything, etc.  The Adagio series are also lovely soundtracks for study.

The Great Synthesis:  After reading My Life with the Great Pianists by Franz Mohr, I began collecting music by some of the great pianists referenced in the book.  Saturday, this peaceful, contemplative Horowitz CD arrived in the mail.  As I type this I’m listening to Robert Schumann’s Träumerei, the piece that Noah Adams wrote about playing in his book Piano Lessons, a journal of his year of piano lessons begun at age 51.  Horowitz plays to perfection Beethoven’s “Pathetique” Sonata, a lovely adagio one of my piano students is beginning.

There you have it – music for both my vocation and avocation.  Vita é bella!

7 thoughts on “Music in the Morning

  1. I checked out Piano Lessons from the library and am reading a little of it.  I intend to listen to Schumann’s piece soon.
    So many things competing for my time, I am a tragic dilettante.  That’s why I keep coming back to read you 🙂
    Dana in GA

  2. I love that quote from Horowitz. It is so absolutely right! I remember hearing him in person – you are too young for that, but isn’t it wonderful that we have his recordings?

  3. Last month I got to the library one day, but started having a coughing fit, so I quickly skirted to some back shelves so as not to bother anyone. There was a chair in the aisle up against the shelves, so I sat down and as I stopped coughing I perused the shelves in front of me. I picked out Piano Lessons, it looked intriguing so I checked it out and enjoyed reading it. But haven’t been able to listen to the Traumerei piece yet. Oh, btw, I really enjoyed Penny Plain. THANK YOU!

  4. OK, you guys – if you have Windows Media Player click on the link to Horowitz’s CD and scroll down to number 18. You will get a nice dose of Träumerei there. It truly is exquisite. Dorrice you heard horowitz in person? Get out of town! (That is how we said “awesome” in the 1970s). Maxine, I have a horrible head cold today and am praying that it clears up QUICKLY so I can meet you this weekend. I’m looking forward to hearing your husband speak–and you too at the high tea? Sherry, I’m so glad you enjoyed Penny Plain. Sometimes we love a book and others don’t feel the same warmth towards it. Maybe I can meet you soon. That’s a secret code that you’ll have to figure out (grin)!

  5. I love ANYTHING having to do with piano! My 14 yo daughter is already playing pieces I worked on in college; we are hearing a lot of Debussey recently. It is such a joy to have the house filled with music. Have you ever read _The Piano Shop on the Left Bank_ by Thad Carhart ? A charming book for all piano lovers. Thanks for a wonderful post.Poiema

  6. Wonderful post!  I am hoping to get started on “My Life with the Great Pianists” this week.  After having spent all of last week plus part of this week substitute teaching I haven’t found the energy–and I want to be able to enjoy it!  I have always loved playing Bach and Brahms.  Definitely not contemporaries!  But both with amazingly rich harmonies that delight the hearer.

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