Friday, January 28, 2011

A Surprise Encounter with Music in my Own Backyard (or Church)

Steeple of Hyde Park Chapel on Exhibition Road.
Although I work and write from home and have almost total flexibility in and control of my schedule, I somehow struggle to get out of the flat as planned in the afternoons (write in the mornings, work in the evenings).

Yesterday, I managed.  I finally attended, for the first time, the weekly lunch-time concert series put on at my church on Exhibition Road in South Kensington every Thursday.

It was good.  Actually, it took my breath away.  I was stirred by the gifted violinist and her accompanist, the violin from the 1700s, and the selection of pieces by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, and Chopin.

I admit to taking a book with me - a pernicious habit I picked up in recent years.  I like classical music, but enjoy it all the more when I have a little intellectual stimulation to join to the audial.

Yet there was one piece in particular through which I was so rapt that I could not bring myself to read.  It was Chopin's Nocturne in C# minor arranged for violin and piano.

It reminded me very much of my sister, who played the violin painfully well for so many years before she passed in 2002.  I also studied violin, but knew I would never reach her level of talent.  Yet it gave me a deep appreciation (along with perfect relative pitch) for her gift.

Rarely do I find a violinist who equals her.  When I am, I am transported as I was yesterday to a place where I am simultaneously elevated and pained by the reminder of the tragic loss of her person and talent.

I wonder if, as a spirit in heaven, she is still able to play.  I certainly hope so.


  1. Since you originally posted, this, I found the Chopin piece in my stacks of mucis and have been practicing it. Thank you for letting me know about this. It is truly beautiful.

  2. What a wonderful resource to have those concerts. Great idea. A very beautiful piece.