Posts Tagged ‘Debussy’

This is my absolute favourite of the Debussy Estampes.

The first time I heard it was at a student concert in which I was performing Chopin’s Barcarolle. I was slotted as one of the last performances and as a result, spent many rehearsals listening to the entire concert all the way through. Two acts before the intermission is a lovely and talented girl called Ruth playing the Debussy Estampes. I was at first drawn to her pastel green gown lovingly hand sewn by her mother. I thought that the dress was a little bit of a misfit on a 15-year-old girl. Then she sat down at the piano and I was just completely hooked.

This is one of those songs in which there are no dull moments for both the pianist as well as the listener. Once you start on it, you are compelled to go all the way through. I vowed to learn it and I eventually did, at my LRSM exam too.

I picked it up again a week back after getting through Debussy’s Clair de Lune and Chopin’s Berceuse. Although I currently play it at a tempo far less than prestissimo and I sail through some parts, stumble through others, it still catches me the same way, bringing me back to a lonely time when I ran across the river at lunch every day to the Esplanade to use the piano in that awkward little nook in the library; a time where everytime I wanted to share a private thought, I whipped out my phone and text Egypt. Of loneliness and the boy who told me about rain in the desert in December.

I lived in that dream for a while, maniacally, in the gardens in the rain, feeling the raindrops fall off my fingers, the storm quieting, that sudden blast of sunlight, the rainbow across the sky and birdsong. Maybe at the end of the streams, at the end of the rainbow, at the end of that wondrous flight of the birds, there would lie a place away from all the frustrations I had felt.

So when in doubt, always return to the music. Look back. Then look up at that face staring back at you from the polished straight back of your piano: a different face, a far different time. Count the steps that took you out of those dark times and always remember that things could have turned out far worse than they did.

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I sat at the piano tonight with my signature Chopin Nocturne and Clair de Lune, with my mute pedal depressed, remembering another time, another piano, another house, and an undeterminable slush of music, a stack of scores, notes, meaningless notes, running across pages and pages of watermarked yellowed pages. I tried hard to hold on to them, but the more I tried, the more they ran, until they turned a dizzying blur of grey and I, none the wiser, frustrated, worn.

But tonight is different. Tonight I sat, calm and poised. My heart is full, so full it spills over into the music, the tragedy of my Chopin sadder and more tragic precisely because I had been in that blur of grey and have emerged, like those elegant, perfect pearls of moonlight in a stream, glistening, every single note of the arpeggios in the same size and colour.

It is now approaching midnight. I reluctantly stop, wondering how long I can keep up with this before my neighbours start plotting my demise, promising to return before too long has passed.

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