Wednesday, September 03, 2014

The rain comes again, pattering along, and the sodden breath of the boreal forest permeates a mildewed wooden pavilion. You tug a wool cardigan closer around your neck in a twitching gesture, hoping it will create the illusion of warmth, and watch curiously while a young girl and a boy extend a terry-cloth towel between them, so that it hovers just above the keys of an upright piano. A third figure, a 12-year-old boy named Tim, sporting a beige Fedora, stretches out his palms until they disappear beneath the towel. He grins impishly. His unseen hands reach for the ivories.

Three notes, struck in measured succession. That is all it takes for the pimply pranksters and the trees to disappear, and for the music to launch you into a deep abyss, a scarlet-burgundy crushed-velvet lily, with indigo highlights. Are those flashes of sound emerging from the piano, or from your own soul? The tones rise and fall as if ocean waves are striking and circling a light-house, and some frigate--it must be your ship--is pitching to and fro, but in spite the slashes of anguish, there is the hope that the ship will find its harbor, quite soon, in fact.

This is how Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C Sharp Minor might resonate to a fresh pair of ears. 

If your senses later become a bit dull and jaded, perhaps you could give the music a rest, until you are able to conjure the memory of listening to it for the first time.

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