Tag Archives: classical musicians

The Corner.

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The new set up finally felt right.

The laptop should never have been situated anywhere near the davenport. Hardly welcoming to plunk one’s “office” right in the middle of the livingroom. Add to that the endless stream of paper mail – charity pleas, financial statements, natural health provocateurs, catalogues. Burgeoning piles, taunting every, lifelong attempt to keep an orderly house.

No matter that finding the means to actually toss the static stacks forever eluded. This would harken back to that Great Depression mindset and, well, that was inherited.

Yes. The corner was, finally, just perfect. The wicker rocker had been lovely neo-nostalgia, but sprawling, determined to scrape the last of the baseboard paint all the way down to its 1895 darkwood. And, sitting in the rocker was never right; its ergonomics, or lack thereof, had wrecked both her neck and sacra, the latter already pesky after the fall from the stage in ’09. Perhaps the new chair was more than just easy to assemble. Perhaps she could finally extend her spine fully, and expand her lungs. Perhaps she could finally, functionally, actively: sit.

With the sofa pushed forward, making room for the slender pole lamp, peace lily to the left wafting its oxygen, and heat vent just below, she was at last comfortable enough to troll Facebook, watch Showtime, and write without descending into the dull, half-wit of the couch potato. She noted that getting up to go to the piano was a far more frequent occurrence, now, the most encouraging observation of the hour.

Hardly anybody of any social importance anymore even knew that she played piano. The purchase of the Steinway was only meaningful to her, after all. Funny how expectations were fueled by fantasies, and these by notions. Notions of relative value.

Time didn’t actually pass, she’d been told. But, years did. And, she hadn’t been part of the league of pianists since at least 2005. A decade, to the Millennials and those who spawned them, was a lifetime.

She noted that, from this angle, her reflection appeared in the screen. The way the light refracted provided a clear image. Her face appeared to be receding from its head, the absence of estrogen draining the last of its contouring fat. She used to see an exotic Napolitan, even at her loneliest moments marveling at how distinct she was from the sea of Sicilians in the spectre of her locale. Now, she could only ponder the generic picture of a woman toward which nobody would even look twice.

She wondered if anybody would be listening seven days hence, as she made her recapitulating debut on the live airwaves. The year was probably 1990; Mavis Sargeant, ever the pioneer and a rare Brit in a community of staunch Germans and ethnic ghettos, had initiated “Potpourri”, live classical and its corollaries for a solid hour at high noon at the local PBS affiliate. For quite awhile, it stuck; now, nearly two decades in, live music was once again featured at WQLN – FM. Her selected colleagues had agreed to perform a trio program, and the marketing standard included a live broadcast “teaser” to lure attendees to the scheduled recital.

Thus was her life, lived – by the standards of her alleged family – in complete self-indulgence. Somehow, she had missed the importance of being seen out, in the evenings, where people gathered. She had neglected to form relationships with those who would sustain her social standing. Now her words, last testament to the proof that she had lived, were batted about by anonymous ghost writers, grifters in a world of the younger, prettier, and classed.

Pressing the space bar and the shift key, she placed the next set of them onto the template of the laptop screen.

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© Ruth Ann Scanzillo   1/27/17   Post #478, all authentic, created by this writer, whose rights are reserved in spite of all attempts to the contrary. Yeah. To all the pathetic parasites: Someday, all your sins will find you out. To the honest among you, go in peace.

littlebarefeetblog.com

Still Standing.

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN.

Compliments to the redhaired tenor in the office, her comp seat was a good one. Angled, just right, a direct sight line to the soloist and the cello section. Close, too, enough to see hands and noses and pursed lips and set chins and reflecting glasses. And good, too, that she’d rendered the contac in her right eye tacet; now, the tortoise shell framed lenses could do their work, in concert. Yes; the symphony, from that vantage point, would be truly philharmonic. Best to see in stereo, as well!

But, something about the Warner stage lighting drew her gaze to the left, toward that back corner less populated by the absorbing uniformed black of flanking string players. Bedecked with geometric chrome, and cured skins of graduating size, and assorted varnishes of exotic woods: the percussion section.

He stood apart.

Six feet, two, in full tails. Slender hands clasping long, red baubled mallets, crossing at the thigh. A metal xylophone and rosewood marimba tabling his foreground. Eyes, on the illuminated music. Ears, on the woodwind cues. Body, in the rhythm. Mind, on the beat.

She looked at him, setting the angle of her head. The orchestra had long since begun its overture, some tribute to a Bernstein fantasy, and she was conscious of the preponderance of audience fixating on the conductor’s choreography. The music lept, and swooped, and peppered across the stage. And, he stood.

Though built for size, he was not muscle bound. His cranium was large, the flesh beneath his chin testing its starched white collar. She watched his face.

This was more than a face, she’d decided over a decade ago, and only one who really knew could recognize its allure. Less a face, more the countenance of a mind so rich in its convolutions so as to play upon its surface and shapes in an endless array of instantaneous, simultaneous thought.

That grand head, atop the smoothe, broad, black tailcoat’s shoulders, and the rest of him, outfitted like some turn of the 20th century British notion of an English gentleman, she decided. Taken individually, the French facial features were unmistakeable; yet, unavoidably paired with that oversized skull, liberally fleshed out body and long, solid legs, they lost the battle. He was Benjamin Franklin, reincarnated, minus only the wavy locks and wired spectacles.

She had become his spotlight, body heat intensifying with the orb of her gaze. Her mind returned. They’d made it all the way through October of the second of those two solid years, a record in her dismal history of attempts at sustaining anything. His company had been deeply rich, he unbelievably tender and strong. And, as he stood, she realized that, out of all other men, this man had remained entirely above reproach, never having done a single thing to hurt or offend. Always supportive, ever positive. No fault to be had; no judgment passed. No infraction in the war of love. Only the truest of unconditional acceptance. This was a man who could stand anywhere.

With increasing flavor and sensation, the performance rollicked on. The music was spectacular; the soloist, dazzling; the composer, meeting later in the theater lobby, gracious and forthcoming; people, on all sides, enraptured and exultant to be together.

She knew he’d be leaving alone, probably the last to pack. Regal attire meticulously hung, comfort clothing now draping his soft, voluptuous belly home. Then, he’d be on his back on the small bed, old phonograph filling that equally small room with strains of the most obscure treasure, a one of a kind recording, his own acquisition, his singular, solitary satisfaction.

Her star struck euphoria would be momentary. Her gratitude at nearly missing the newest of musical offerings, and that of superior quality all around, would last for weeks.

But, in her mind and heart, head and shoulders above all the rest, he was still standing.

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© Ruth Ann Scanzillo

10/11/15   All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. Sharing, in whole or part, strictly prohibited. Thank you.

littlebarefeetblog.com

Command Performance.

Yes, world.

The truth.

I never know when it will hit me. All it takes is one little comment, one casual glance, one set of eyes rolling at another…..one dismissal, by somebody you admire….one moment of perceived abandonment. I have performance anxiety.

Oh, not always. In fact, give me five thousand people, and a microphone, and I can have at it without notes.

But, mine is a deeply emotional affliction. And, it only occurs in the midst of a large group of musicians, on the concert stage. We call them orchestral solos and, as beautifully written as many of them are, they can send you to the brink of hell.

So, to anyone who ever feels a pang of jealousy or resentment of me, just remember this: Things are rarely as they seem. Dropping your pants in public takes everything you’ve got and, when you bare yourself naked, that tick can bite. When this happens, there’s nothing anybody can do.

Meditation, affirming self talk, is supposed to work. That is, if there is time for it. Plus, you need a secure society, a group of people who truly care for one another. This is called a family. When you don’t have a family, all you have is yourself and your perception of your value. And, that works – when you are alone, or when performance is not commanded of you. But, when it is time to put out in public, you face all the demons. And, yes; the demons a.l.w.a.y.s. show up. You see them in the faces of the wives of the husbands. You see them in the other musicians, the ones who want your seat. You see them in the colleague who finds you annoying. You see them in the mothers who wish they were single like you, all of them totally oblivious of your reality.

Aging is also a factor. In my case, though precipitating life events were the cause, the effects have been cumulative. And, when you reach that tipping point, it takes an enormous pole shift to right your ship. We all hope for that force to emerge, that life saver, the one that waves its wand and vaporizes all the vermin. Yeah, good luck with finding it. I thought I had, but this morning is another waking moment. And, today, I bring you this. It’s just a taste, but perhaps quite enough. See? Now, you know.

So, have a beautiful day. And, if there is anybody next to you in the bed, or waiting in the kitchen with breakfast, or hoping to meet with you later, remember to touch, and hold fast, and appreciate one another. Don’t command performance. Love is a notion, but sometimes it almost feels real and, if you have somebody, you have it all.

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© Ruth Ann Scanzillo

9/20/15    All rights those of the author. Permission to share granted, upon request. Thank you.

littlebarefeetblog.com