Tag Archives: pianist

1886. A small tragedy

(Dear Friends – a footnote at the top of the page! All my poems in the past have had an audio except for “Self-portrait in landscape” which was promulgated the other day. I’ve fixed that omission, so there’s now an audio of me reading it if anyone is interested. None of this has anything to do with the following story!)

When Charmaine was peeling potatoes she accidentally cut off her baby finger. Her mother had always said, “Charmaine! Don’t peel the potatoes with a sharp knife! Peel the potatoes with a proper potato peeler!” But you know young people. Charmaine knew better. It was inevitable that one day she would cut off a finger with the knife.

It wasn’t just the tip of the baby finger; it was the whole hog; the entire pinkie on her left hand.

Part of the tragedy was of course that Charmaine was a fabulous concert pianist. What a fabulous concert pianist was doing peeling potatoes I have no idea. Nor did her mother, my wife. Naturally, her hysterical mother phoned for an ambulance after wrapping the little finger up in several pieces of paper towel, the roll of which sat on the window sill above the kitchen sink. There was blood on the cutting board and kitchen bench and everywhere, and the couple of potatoes that had been already peeled were ruined.

I said to Charmaine that I wouldn’t mind paying a famous composer to write a piece for piano that used only nine fingers, and she said “Don’t be silly Daddy. How would a famous composer know it was my pinkie on the left hand that was missing?” I wouldn’t have thought that such things mattered.

And then the ambulance, while turning off the road into the driveway, missed and drove into the ditch. It was stuck. And what is more it was blocking the gate so that the next ambulance (that my wife had called for immediately) couldn’t get in. To add to the inconvenience, the ambulance personnel got the stretcher through the gate, but with Charmaine lying on the stretcher they couldn’t squeeze it between the stuck ambulance and the garden wall. It simply wasn’t possible to turn the stretcher on its side. Not with Charmain in it.

The ambulance crew tipped Charmain onto the grassy verge and managed to get the stretcher through the gap. They then had to get Charmaine through the gap and onto the stretcher and into the usable ambulance.

That is when I said, “Look Charmaine, I can tell the famous composer which finger is missing when I commission the piece.”

And Charmaine said, “Oh Daddy, it’s not the same.” I didn’t have a clue what she meant. She can be so obtuse at times. But anyway, before long the ambulance was on its way and I followed (with Charmaine’s mother as a passenger) in the family car which fortunately I had parked on the side of the road outside the gate. Somehow the ambulance got through all the heavy traffic but we got stuck. We were sitting on the road in the car halfway to the hospital, and I said “Well at least the right vehicle got through”, and my wife said “Yes, but I have her finger in my purse. There’s no hope now.”

I said, “That settles it. I’m commissioning a piano piece for nine fingers from a famous composer. I’ll do that tomorrow.”

That is when Charmaine’s mother’s phone rang. “Hello? Hello?” The batteries went flat. The phone was dead. Now it’s going to be hours before we find out what the lottery numbers are.

1819. The child prodigy

(Warning: there could be swearing)

Cornelius Dresdomida-Heregofinsopt was the most astonishing child prodigy since Adam was a boy. He was a musician. His two main instruments were piano and piccolo. You wouldn’t believe what he could do with a piccolo! Astonishing!

Since the age of five he had shown a remarkable talent for piano, and he celebrated his tenth birthday by playing Dmitri Smith’s 14th Piano Concerto in A minor accompanied by the Ulaanbaatar Symphony Orchestra.

Reviews were stunning. The fact that he played one of his own compositions as an encore proved that the world was on the cusp of discovering a talent so divine it made Bach look like a headless chicken.

Cornelius went on to become one of the greats of all time. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Dresdomida-Heregofinsopt tripped off everyone’s tongue. Not only that, but he became the richest musician ever to hit the world stage. He was regarded as a phenomenon; a living icon; the incarnation of Michael the Archangel. Then he died, well into his eighties, leaving a body of work so vast that people were in disbelief.

Except none of this happened. Because when he was five years old and asked his parents if he could learn the piano, his father simply said, “No kid of mine is going to grow up a fuckin’ pansy.”

And that was that.

1565. Hitting the right note

Xiu Cheung was a fabulous concert pianist. She had appeared on the world stage at the age of fourteen and had never looked back. At first it was Chopin and Liszt. By the time she was in her mid-twenties she had married her manager and was in demand throughout the world to play well-nigh impossible piano concertos with every significant orchestra on the planet.

The utter apex of her art was reached in Strasbourg. She played Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto. It was an unbelievable success.

Never had this concerto been tackled with such energy, such grace, such delicacy, such boldness, such… There was not a human emotion that Xiu Cheung didn’t wring from the music. The finale was as if a ten-tonne bulldozer had crashed onto the stage in a spectacle of utter destruction. The standing ovation lasted more than twenty minutes. From where did Xiu Cheung derive such energy? Such desire? How could anyone be driven to such passion?

Of course, it helped that her manager-husband was sitting dead as a doornail in the Green Room with Xiu Cheung’s nail scissors plunged deep in his chest.

Music 177-191: A second little suite in fifteen sketches

Hi Everyone

This is to “advertise” the “Second Little Suite in Fifteen Sketches” for the piano.

As for all eleven Little Suites (coming up eventually!) the first and last sketches are the same!

Click on a title in the first list to listen, and click on a title in the second list to download the written piano music.

Thanks

Click on a title to listen
1. Beyond the open door
2. Kids’ train ride in the park
3. Buttercups
4. Incessant cicadas
5. At the bird bath
6. Village bells
7. Spinning in the wind
8. A waltz for anyone with three legs or more
9. Pear blossom
10. The casual cyclist
11. Rock pools
12. The merry brewer
13. Stygian march
14. Rabbits
15. Home from such adventures

Click on a title to download the written music
1. Beyond the open door
2. Kids’ train ride in the park
3. Buttercups
4. Incessant cicadas
5. At the bird bath
6. Village bells
7. Spinning in the wind
8. A waltz for anyone with three legs or more
9. Pear blossom
10. The casual cyclist
11. Rock pools
12. The merry brewer
13. Stygian march
14. Rabbits
15. Home from such adventures

1452. Truly blessed

Alana was a fabulous concert pianist. She gave concerts all over the world. Critics raved. Audiences swooned.

“God has truly blessed you,” said Bethany.

“God has blessed me, my foot!” said Alana. “My talent is the result of hard work. I practised for hours as a kid. My ability has nothing to do with the fiction you call God. It has everything to do with me and me and me. Grow up.”

You wouldn’t believe it, but Alana died. “I had no idea that heaven was real,” said Alana arriving at the pearly gates. “I thought all this heaven stuff was a load of hogwash.”

“What would you like to do?” asked God (in a booming voice). “Who would you like to be?”

“I want to be the greatest pianist that ever existed,” said Alana.

WOOSH! Her request was answered immediately. There she was on a distant planet somewhere in the constellation of Piscis Austrinus. There sat the perfect grand piano. Alana began to play.

“I am truly blessed,” thought Alana.

Eventually it dawned on her. She was the only one on the planet.