Posts Tagged ‘orchestra’

Bach Cello Sonata No.1

October 11, 2017

In G.

And 5 and 6 as well.

Yo Yo Ma.

That is what I am listening to.

It was an intense day and I feel it slowly easing out of my body and sliding to the floor in a big puddle.

I could slide to the floor in a big puddle.

When I need to calm down and unwind I like to listen to this in particular.

It is sweet and I find it wistful, God I miss playing the cello.

There’s a spot about 1:50 into the first sonata and I can feel the bow in my hand, I can see my fingers striding over the neck of the cello and I can feel it between my legs.

I can get weepy thinking about it.

One would suppose that I would be past it, this yearning, but somethings stay with me a long time.

I don’t know that I ever really got over the loss of playing cello.

And I have had it suggested too many times to count that maybe I pick it up again.

I think.

Yes!

Let me do that.

In what fucking time?

I could give up writing in the morning.

I could play music for my morning spiritual fix.

I could not buy a car and buy a cello.

I could go over to Roland Feller and blow my heart out on a cello.

Roland Feller is the luthier for the San Francisco Symphony.

I went once, with a friend who worked out of the Burning Man offices when I was nannying there many years ago now.

He is a professional cello player and gigs about and plays with the San Jose Orchestra.

He gave me lessons for a while and one day took me to Roland Feller.

I would have never known that there was a luthier there.

It is an extraordinary nondescript house next to the Popeye’s Chicken on Divisadero Street.

There is no signage.

You have to make an appointment.

There is a gate and a call box and it looks like some cheap apartment, well, it’s in San Francisco so it’s probably not cheap, but the door opens into this gold mine of classical music instruments.

Violins.

Violas.

Stand up Bass.

Cellos.

Oh and the cellos.

I played a few different ones and I remember one in particular, it was luscious, the sound so rich, so vibrant, it made me quiver with delight.

My friend teased me a little that I was passionate and looked as though I might be having the sexy thoughts.

I had never had a cello quite that caliber ever before in my hands.

It was exquisite.

And one day.

Well.

I have written on this topic before, I will have another cello.

I’m not there yet.

But one day.

And in the mean time.

Well.

I have my Yo Yo Ma and I have Bach.

And Debussy.

And Chopin.

Oh the Chopin Cello Sonata in G Minor.

Oof.

So good.

The Bach is my favorite, but that Chopin is glorious too, passionate and brash and stupendous.

I love that I love classical music.

I don’t look the type.

Except, well, maybe that’s not true.

I feel like I might look the type, that there’s a brazen woman cellist in my heart.

Maybe she smashes herself on her music like I smash myself with my poetry.

Maybe one day the two will get back together again.

I don’t expect that I will ever be great, I never was great, but I had heart, yes, I had great big heart and I knew it and so did my most ardent supporter–my orchestra conductor, Mister Ziegler.

Where ever you are, you meant something to me that few teachers do.

He supported me, he was honest with me, he argued for me.

He brought in my mom and my step father, the fuck (egad, maybe I need yet another inventory on the man, christ), and sat them down and tried, oh how hard he tried, to convince them to not let me quit cello.

Quitting cello was not my idea.

It was my stepfathers idea.

We didn’t have enough money and my parents, god I can’t even say that, the man was never a fucking parent to me, he was a violent misogynistic sociopath, but not a parent, had bought a house in Windsor, outside the school system I was in at the time I was playing cello.

There was no thought of a tutor, I had one actually, that my conductor had arranged with the school and I was given said tutoring for free, but to move away from the school system I would lose that.

And the school that was closest to me, the one that I would attend, DeForest, well, they didn’t have an orchestra.

Oh sure.

They had band.

But no orchestra.

They had cut the funding for the orchestra.

You should see the football stadium though, a work of art that.

Anyway.

My conductor tried to argue that my parents continuing my tutoring or that I commute in to Madison for school and still stay with the cello.

Nope.

There were words, there was fire, I could see how hard my conductor was trying to get through to my parents.

My stepfather hated me playing.

He hated me practicing.

I got lost in the cello, I wasn’t there, I was gone, gone, gone, and he wanted me present and not in my fantasy world.

He also did not like that I read as much as I did, I shit you not.

What fucking parent doesn’t want their children to read?

When I was punished some of the worst punishments were being denied those things that I loved most.

Books and my cello.

Cello was first to go.

“Put it away and go clean the bathtub,” he said.

The the books were taken.

I don’t know what I did, I mean, I have absolutely no recollection of what I had done to deserve the grounding to my room one weekend, but he was diabolical.

I had no problem being grounded to my room, fine with me, I won’t have to look at you.

I’ll read, thank you very much.

But.

Oh my fucking god, the man had removed every single book I had in my room, everything was gone, it was stripped.

Thank God I had one underneath the mattress of my bed.

Fucking stashed my back up drugs thank you very much.

So.

It wasn’t much of a surprise, after the cello was taken and my stepfather and my mom left the orchestra room with me sadly in tow, that once we moved to Windsor I was to be denied academic access as well.

“She’s too proud, she needs to be humbled, she’s not allowed to do it,” he told my mom, who had tried in her own way to get him to give his permission to sway him.

I was trailing behind in the snow walking down Windsor Road in the middle of a cold ass night listening to them argue about me and the invitation I had been given to join an advanced English class-accelerated and an accelerated math class.

I didn’t care so much about the math, irony, I was actually able to attend that, I think my mom might have had a hook up or something with the math teacher now that I look back, but the English was resolutely denied.

I can feel rage in my chest when I think about that.

“Too proud, she’s just too fucking proud.”

And maybe I was.

Pride goeth before the fall.

I have been humbled in many ways, but I still like my books and I still love listening to cello.

And I am beyond proud of how I grew and became the woman I am today.

Despite the horrendous odds against me growing up.

I got out.

And you can’t put me down.

Nope.

I will not be ground down.

I will thrive.

I am thriving.

I am alive.

Happy.

Joyous.

Motherfucking.

Free.

And yes.

Proud.

 

 

 

 

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Happy Dance

November 8, 2016

I just did my little soft shoe Converse shuffle of joy.

I mean I busted out some serious happy dance moves.

I jumped up.

I wiggled around.

I giggled like an insane person.

Then.

Just for the fuck of it all.

I did it again.

I’m happy.

I have been given so much.

It blows my mind.

It really does and I can’t express it and I can’t believe it sometimes and the joy of it makes me burst out dancing like, well, like no one’s watching.

Because.

Um.

No one was.

Heh.

If I could dance for you I would.

Happy and free and silly and overwhelmed with gratitude and love.

With the shape of the moon half full floating in the sky.

With the sand dunes curling down to the sea.

With the smell of pumpkin pie spice and the glow of candles.

I would dance and stomp and twirl.

I like to dance when I am happy.

I have on some good French house music.

The Kungs.

And the internet hasn’t dropped me, yet, sometimes it’s hard to get the wifi down here in my little hobbit hole and when I want to hook up my phone to my Ihome speaker, it can drop and I won’t have my Spotify.

But tonight.

The wifi knew I wanted to dance.

To make photographs in my heart of my feelings.

Channeled with love, hollowed out glories of memories yet to be made and wanders where I capture all the joyousness in my life.

I feel seen and loved and cherished.

I feel special.

And lit up.

It is a sublime feeling.

One that I capture and hold, in the burrows of my bones, in the skein of my soul, in the stretch and uplift of laughter on my mouth, in the way it curves in a smile, perpetual and open, lifted and lightened.

I am feeling good.

You may surmise.

Your summary would be correct.

I have so much.

I can hold it in my hand.

The weight of it.

The heft of it.

Hewn there.

The glory of images and moments, succulent, sweet, piled up like persimmons harvested from the bins at the farmer’s market.

Excuse me.

Dance break.

Damn that is some good music.

Ah, music, you fill me up.

I was sharing with someone earlier about a time in my life when I lost the cello.

It used to sadden me, make me rumpled with remorse, with loss, with sorrow, with regret.

Not that there really was much I could have done or changed about the circumstances.

My family moved from an urban school system to a rural school system, both were public, that did not have an orchestra.

I was bereft.

I had been playing cello for years.

It was my passion.

My solace.

My retreat from the world.

I really had believed I was going to grow up to be a cellist in an orchestra.

Mister Ziegler was adamantly against my parents decision, my conductor, he was aghast when my family decided to make the move and I was no longer going to be able to play.

We were too poor for me to continue private lessons.

The school I was in loaned me a school cello, a beautiful full-sized lion of a cello, golden and burnt orange, I actually had two.

One that I kept at home and one that I practiced with at school.

The one I kept at home was the beauty and I was loath to part with her.

The school had not only been supportive of my cello playing–it was unheard of for a student to have access to not one but two stringed instruments–they also, I have no clue who cleared it, again, probably Mister Ziegler, for me to have once a week private lessons with a cellist from the UW Madison orchestra.

He was beautiful.

And his fingers stunned me, so long and tapered and elegant, they way he held the neck of the cello and his bow hand.

Shut up.

Amazing.

I had a good bow hand, but his was impeccable.

He had dark hair and dark eyes and was pale as blue shadows on ice.

I remember the other girl who got lessons, her parents paid for them, Susie, she was the talented one, the one with the really expensive cello, the girl who would become first chair.

At least that’s what Mister Ziegler predicted.

“You Carmen, you’re not going to be first chair, or second, maybe third, but let me be honest, you’ll probably be fourth if you’re lucky,” he told me one day as the orchestra emptied out and the students headed off to classes other than the annoying one that their parents were pushing them into.

The girls who quit because they wanted to grow their fingernails and date boys.

The guys who dropped to play football or soccer or baseball.

And me.

I was hurt, at first when he said it, I was not expecting to hear that, I knew, oh how I knew, like you know when you love someone but they can’t or won’t love you back, I knew that I was not first chair material.

But.

Fuck.

Not even third?

That hurt.

Then.

He stopped.

He looked down at me as I straddled the chair with my cello laying against my leg, took off his horn rimmed glasses and polished them absent-mindedly with his shirt tail, “but you will always have a place in an orchestra Carmen, always, you have something that an orchestra desperately needs, you have heart.”

I had tears in my eyes when he told me that.

I have tears in my eyes now.

“You won’t be first chair, but Carmen, you will play, you will have a job, you can make a career out of this, you can, you have soul and passion and heart and no orchestra can survive without that.”

He tucked his shirt in, put his glasses on his nose and ran his hands through his hair, it was a wild nest of just beginning to fade red curls that on a lessor man or a slightly different face would have called to mind Bozo the clown, instead of this passionate, eccentric, oddball man full of handsome charm and charisma.

“I’m going to talk to your parents again, see if maybe we can’t figure something out,” he padded to the front of the room in his sock feet, he had a habit of conducting in his socks, and took the music off the podium, “scat kiddo, get to your next class.”

He did have a conference with my mom and step father.

It was for naught.

I lost the cello.

But I did not lose the joy.

I did not lose the love.

I did not lose my heart.

It broke open.

Got bigger.

It got some more love on.

Tonight it overflows with it.

And.

I am not sorrowful for that loss.

Rather.

I am grateful for the time I got to have with the cello.

It was a blessing.

Grateful for all the gifts in my life.

All of them.

I am the luckiest girl in the world.

I am.

I am.

Happy.

Joyous.

Motherfucking.

Free.


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