The house was quiet, so I took an opportunity to play my piano. I always enjoy sitting down and playing when my family has gone out…this is the time I can allow myself to become totally absorbed in my music. I want to feel the “story” the composer is telling and unless there are no distractions, it is lost to me. I enjoy the story and get caught up in its rhapsody and I can feel the composer’s thoughts, his loves and his hates…if I take the time to listen, while I am playing, I can feel all of it.
Today, as I went to the piano, I was not sure what I wanted to play…to be honest, I almost did not play. However, it is rare to have the house to myself or even have the time to sit down and play the piano. I let my fingers sift through the sheet music until I ran across my favorite composer, Chopin! He is my favorite because of the passion he had for his native Poland.
I rested the music on the stand and opened to the first page. I quickly glanced over the notes and expressions…this piece should be played, “allegretto” (moderately fast)…then, I gently lifted the cover, which so gallantly protected the keys. As the cover came off, the polished, smooth keys begged for me to caress them. I obliged their wish, and placed my fingers lightly on the creamy ivory.
First, I warmed up by playing the scale…up and down the keys…then, I was ready…….
I began to methodically pull from the piano’s soul a melody that sang sweetly from its lips…much like honey dripping from the honeycomb. My fingers were dancing a Polish dance across the ivory and rich ebony.
I progressed deeper into the composition…I lost myself in the rhapsody. I felt like I was no longer in the room…I was a Sea Gull flying over the sea…the sea mist was spraying me in the face, as I floated on the wind. I soared with each crescendo, as the breeze pushed me higher in the heavens.
Then suddenly, I was no longer alone. I was no longer just a student of this brilliant man…Chopin leapt from the yellowed pages and possessed me. He took complete control of my fingers…I played with more intensity than I ever have before…my breathing became labored and my heart was beating fervently. As my soul climbed higher and higher with each measure, my ears were ringing with commands of softer, louder, faster and slower…like soldiers marching across a concourse … I could not keep up and yet, I did!
Then, we reached the climax and began our sweet descent back down. Chopin held me closely to his bosom and the breeze stroked my hair, as we descended. At, first it felt like a free fall, but then I knew I was being carried on the wings of exhilaration. As we drew closer to the end, I felt his soul slowly withdraw from mine and then I saw the words, “molto retardando” (much slowing)…I felt an emptiness grip my heart, as I reluctantly played the final note. The note hung in the air and lingered there, as I sorrowfully sealed the cover over the mute keys…like the closing of a casket. I slowly arose from the stool and returned it to its dwelling place. I placed the music back in the stack from whence it came…next to the other, silent compositions and left the room. As I did, I heard a soft, almost ghostly, “well done.”