Roots, of a sort

I’m preparing repertory for my autumn concerts and yet again I came across a beautiful piece of mine that I had forgotten about. Well, there are many many pieces now, and I cannot keep them all in repertory all the time, so some are played less and then I forget that they are there. (This is why having published everything in print is so useful for me—I can re-learn my own music!)

Would I be a pianist at all if it weren’t for George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue? Possibly not. My parents had a recording of it when I was very young and it was my very favorite music. I would dance around to it! Then my older sister was learning to play the piano version of it, and that became my goal when I started lessons: to play Rhapsody in Blue. I still remember puzzling out the first page as soon as I could read the notation well enough to do so, long before I could reach octaves or really approach any of the technique required to actually play the music. I played the (clarinet) trill with the index fingers of each hand. I wasn’t deluding myself, I was well aware that I couldn’t really play the music yet. I just desperately wanted to!

A few years later, after I had been more or less playing the Rhapsody for a couple of years, I quit piano. I had achieved my goal, after all. (Fortunately I discovered some new goals, but that’s a story for another day.)

My idea of how music should sound is deeply influenced by my early and continuing love of Rhapsody in Blue. One of my earliest piano pieces, which was recorded for Topaz back in the day but didn’t make a CD appearance until Drivin’!, would have been titled “Homage to Gershwin”. Now that’s a pathetic attempt at a title, which I knew at the time.

Very soon after that, I was saved by my friend Nancy, who at a late summer party offered me a paper cup of some kind of red beverage, and said, “It’s just bug juice. It’s liquid, though.”

And I thought, “There’s my title.”

And I still love it as a title for my homage to Gershwin!

Sample of It’s Liquid, Though
© 1988 Topaz Productions

It’s Liquid, Though on Spotify.

It’s Liquid, Though in sheet music and ebook.

It’s Liquid, Though is recorded on Drivin’! (Even though it’s not a very driving piece.)

Drivin cover


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