March 14, 2014

“Beethoven tells you what it's like to be Beethoven and Mozart tells you what it's like to be human. Bach tells you what it's like to be the universe.” 

Yesterday was a long day at work.  Lots of meetings, high level discussions, difficult news, all in all a stressful day.  As I was driving home all I could think about was reaching my piano and slipping into the comforting world of music for awhile.  And when I'm stressed or upset, it isn't fiery or passionate or intense music I crave but rather something steady...something measured...something you can count on to bring your world back into focus.  My slightly worn and battered book of Bach Inventions that I've had since college is the first thing I grab as I sit down at the piano and let the music wash over me.  It tells me "steady on" and "everything will work out okay" as the notes unfold in perfect design from beginning to end.  In a way they mirror life, simple at the beginning, and then they begin to weave in and out, questioning and responding, but always ending with a satisfying, firm conclusion.  The inventions were designed as teaching pieces, not for performance, and in a larger view isn't that life as well?  We are here to learn--to figure out the order and the timing of our lives and how we fit into the universe.  Thank you, Mr. Johann Bach, for sharing your exercises with the world--I hope I am learning them well.

Listen to Bach's Invention #8 here
Here is one of my favorite poems by Elizabeth Bishop that was running through my mind as I headed home last night--I hope you enjoy it as much as I. 

I am in need of music that would flow
Over my fretful, feeling fingertips,
Over my bitter-tainted, trembling lips,
With melody, deep, clear, and liquid-slow.
Oh, for the healing swaying, old and low,
Of some song sung to rest the tired dead,
A song to fall like water on my head,
And over quivering limbs, dream flushed to glow!
There is a magic made by melody:
A spell of rest, and quiet breath, and cool
Heart, that sinks through fading colors deep
To the subaqueous stillness of the sea,
And floats forever in a moon-green pool,
Held in the arms of rhythm and of sleep.

And after I was calmed by Bach, I finished the FAFSA!  So happy Friday everyone!!

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