Life According to Piano

Gifts & remembrances

As I was practicing for next week’s house concert with Louis Landon yesterday, I took a moment to just rest my hands on the keys. And they wanted to rest in a particular place — on an E major chord in the 2nd inversion, to be specific. 

(I’m not really sure why, but I don’t play in E major that often. My only 2 pieces in E — other than Tease in Verbs, of course, when I had to compose something in each of the 24 keys — are on my Christmas CD, The Rebirth of Light.) **

So there I was, hands resting on this 2nd inversion chord in E major, and I played the notes. As an arpeggio. Then I played some next notes, and some next next notes; and then I had just the most lovely improvised music, one of those angelic gifts that simply is perfect and beautiful on first playing.

Then I sat for a moment at the piano, soaking in the sweetness and peace left by the angelic gift.

And I played it again. Pretty much. I think.

For me, the second playing of an angelic gift improvisation is always … interesting, unsettled, curious, odd. Like the river being always different, angelic gift improvisations belong to the moment of their creation; we may cling to those moments but we do not get to keep them. Grasping only pushes the sweetness further away. Every moment that passes puts us at a further remove from that one transcendent moment. So the second playing must be a kind of remembrance of perfection, a delicate return, a gentle coaxing of the music. But I personally cannot tiptoe through it, or it eludes me and then is gone forever.

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