the music of the universe

So, I found this joke floating around on Facebook last week:

C, E-flat, and G go into a bar. The bartender says, “Sorry, but we don’t serve minors.” So E-flat leaves, and C and G have an open fifth between them. After a few drinks, the fifth is diminished, and G is out flat. F comes in and tries to augment the situation, but is not sharp enough. D comes in and heads for the bathroom, saying, “Excuse me; I’ll just be a second.” Then A comes in, but the bartender is not convinced that this relative of C is not a minor. Then the bartender notices B-flat hiding at the end of the bar and says, “Get out! You’re the seventh minor I’ve found in this bar tonight.” E-flat comes back the next night in a three-piece suit with nicely shined shoes. The bartender says, “You’re looking sharp tonight. Come on in, this could be a major development.” Sure enough, E-flat soon takes off his suit and everything else, and is au natural. Eventually C sobers up and realizes in horror that he’s under a rest. C is brought to trial, found guilty of contributing to the diminution of a minor, and is sentenced to 10 years of D.S. without Coda at an upscale correctional facility.
Very witty stuff. I’d like to add to the humor, but I spent Saturday going through my knitting stash and organizing things, while watching and listening to two 25th anniversary editions of major musical works: Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera. I’ve been in an extended rest period since then.

Saturday morning before the organizational extravaganza started, I was poking around on craigslist looking for something, most likely something horse related…like a dressage saddle, or a horse? Anyway, this thought popped into my head: “Wonder if anyone around has a grand piano they want to trade for an upright?” I’ve considered selling my piano several times in the past couple of years, for several different reasons. So, why this thought, and why now?

Well, the now part is obvious. I’ve listened to more music in the past two weeks than I have in the past two years, and maybe some synapses are trying to reconnect or something. “Love Never Dies” just keeps getting deeper and more intricate, and it overwhelms me at times. I’ve tried to listen to “Til I Hear You Sing” without weeping. I can’t. Lots of catharsis in there that needs cathart-ing I suppose.

As to the ‘why’ am I wondering if someone might have a grand piano that they want to down-size….turns out, there was one listing within a one-hundred mile radius of my house. It’s actually 20 minutes away.  Someone with a vintage Lester baby grand who is looking to trade it for an upright. The listing had been there since January. And, Craigslist being what it is, chances are that the listing individual forgot to delete the listing. But, there it was, so I sent the email Saturday morning.

Sunday afternoon the response came back: yes, I still have the grand and I’m still looking to downsize, with a request for photos of my piano. I took a  couple of phone pix and emailed them. Again, the email came back. “I’d like to see your piano.”

So today, I have guests come to look at and play my piano. She plays entirely by ear, mostly gospel, and sings. I read, am classically trained and have only recently-like for the past 15 years or so-started to become comfortable with lead sheets. Pure improvisation, even less comfortable. She played my piano and sang a little, very timidly. I totally understand that. I sing wonderfully when no one is around, and I’m sure it sounds great inside my head. My cats would disagree with my assessment. They think I’m exercising cat-speak.

The she asked me to play something for her. I played Schubert, stuff I learned in high school. It was obvious to us that I probably own the piano the universe meant for her to have, and she just might have mine.

She and her husband left, wanting to discuss their next move. He bought the piano for her as a gift and she may not want to part with it. Or he may not want her to part with it. But he did enjoy listening to her play and sing, and he also seemed to enjoy listening to me play my little Schubert.

I bought my piano after selling the vintage Baldwin baby grand my parents bought for me when I was in the ninth grade. My piano teacher at the time know the Baldwin’s owner, and knew that it wasn’t being played. I remember going to the woman’s home to see and play it. She had purchased it for her daughter, who never really took to it. It was beautifully placed in her living room, the lid covered with family photos. It hadn’t been played in years. I played Beethoven. She didn’t really want to sell it, but after we left she contacted my teacher and told her she wanted me to have it. I sold it almost 23 years ago, when I discovered I was pregnant with Wubby. We needed a house more than I needed a grand piano, but I didn’t think I could exist without one in my house.

All these years later, Wubby is grown and on his own, sort of. And Kate will be here for one more year and then…..empty nest.  This particular baby grand may or may not be the one the universe has waiting for me.

But I’m beginning to think that there IS a baby grand out there somewhere, with my name on it.
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2 responses to “the music of the universe

  1. Then again……maybe not.

  2. There was a Broadway show many years ago called Once on This Island. I don’t have any idea how I happened to even know about it — I think I accidentally saw a performance of a song from it on TV, maybe I even caught the Tony awards which is not something I would actually ever do but I think I did. Anyway, you understand. Then Pro-Art got a traveling performance of it in BSG and we got mother to keep the G and went (that’s how long ago it has been). I SOBBED, sitting right there, couldn’t even leave for the longest time. We searched and searched for the recorded music and finally found it and I *still* never actually listen to the whole show through without crying at some point. I love many of the individual songs but it is the whole story that always always gets me. Hmmm, I should try to find that and listen again!

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