Sunday, June 19, 2011

Coffee, Bach, Schumann...

Greetings from Brooklyn, NY, where I am about 6 feet away from a Steinway that is filling the summer morning air with the most wonderful music !  We arrived at the Park Slope apartment of my dear old music-school friend, Marc, his partner, Seth, and their luminously lovely daughter, Samantha yesterday afternoon after a quick swing through my old hometown, Darien, CT, and lunch at my old school-days hang-out, Post Corner Pizza.

In Darien, my kids got a quick tour, pointing out the church where I first sang in choir, my old elementary school, the childhood home of my longtime friend, Nancy, and finally a loop around the cul-de-sac that was the street where I grew up.  My old house has not changed much, but I was struck by how much smaller everything seemed.  My driveway seemed much longer when my brothers and I used to spend afternoons devising all kinds of wheeled ways to coast down the hill toward the garage.  The route I walked to school seemed much longer when I was happily kicking leaf piles all the way to school back in the 70's.

After arriving here, we walked a part of this wonderful old neighborhood: the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, past Grand Army Plaza, up to Prospect Park to allow my kids to run, wrestle, and flop on the broad green lawn with my friends, and quite a number of New Yorkers who use the park as their own backyard.  Today, we'll be walking across the Brooklyn Bridge for some great views of Manhattan and New York Harbor.  Seth is busy looking up subway and bus routes for our explorations while Sam entertains my kids and Marc fills the air with music and the occasional "inside" comment like, "this sounds like Faure", or "here comes that thematic material again"

But once again, for me,  it seems that the some of my favorite episodes on this journey involve the people: family, strangers, new friends, and old friends whose endearing qualities only seem to intensify with time.  After a delightful evening of talking, eating, and laughing with Marc, Seth, and Sam, my kids and I are spending a relaxed waking-up time this morning listening to Marc, a professional concert pianist and music professor, share his music with us.  He's playing something right now that is by a 20th century Colombian composer, Mejia... poignant, rhythmic, and probably fiendishly difficult to play, but Marc makes it sound like the kind of thing one tosses off right after morning coffee.

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