My passion is to help others in the community, young, old, and everyone in between, find relevance and joy in learning, performing or listening to classical music.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The slow "moment" from Beethoven's 3rd piano concerto

Learning and practicing the slow movement of Beethoven's third piano concerto has become therapeutic to me and yesterday I had a bit of an epiphany about it all.  Well, at least it felt like an epiphany to me.  What I realized is that music such as this slow movement is so earth-shatteringly exquisite because it brings us all to a place that we rarely find ourselves these days - a place where time is not rushed, where there is no agenda staring us in the face, where motion is not surrounding us.  This movement, at least to me, brings us to another world where we are finally permitted to stop the clock for a few minutes.  Perhaps we should not even call it the second "movement" but just a "moment".  And what also struck me is that in our time, in our culture especially, understanding such a concept of stillness, of quietness, can be very difficult; we are not used to slamming on the brakes and shutting out all time constraints.  So how am I supposed to achieve this monumental task?  How am I supposed to achieve this zen-like state?  I'm not quite sure that I'm up to this task, at least not in this lifetime.  I've always secretly wished that I lived in the time of Jane Eyre, sitting around in parlors doing needlework and playing clavichords, taking walks in the countryside without a schedule pressing in on would come in handy at times like this...when I need to perform the second movement of Beethoven's otherworldly third piano concerto.

I'm currently reading a novel, A Fine Balance, written by Rohinton Mistry,, that takes place in India in which two of the main characters, young untouchables from a village travel into the city to take up apprenticeships at a tailor's shop, which is unheard of.  They have never been in a city before and they spend two days sitting on the stairs in front of the tailor's shop in absolute shock.  They have no way to comprehend the life that is whirling on around them.  While I was practicing yesterday, I remembered this passage and it occurred to me that if Beethoven were to step into our world today, he too might react in a way similar to how the two apprentices reacted.  But he isn't here, and the world he lived in was very different from how our lives are now.  I feel that in order to do justice to this incredible musical moment, I am going to have to be the one to do the time travelling.  I am going to need to step back in time and forget about hurrying and worrying for a few minutes.  I am going to need to just slow down and share a few moments of heaven with my friends...

I think I can do that...with practice, of course.

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