July 2004

July 30, 2004 20:05

I received my textbooks for school today and was paging through the English one when I came across the short story "A Wagner Matinee", by Willa Cather. Rarely have I connected with a piece of literature so profoundly. It is a narrative by a man describing a concert he attended with his aunt, a woman who taught at the Boston Conservatory years ago but then sacrificed her position to marry a Midwestern farmer and move with him to Nebraska. When his aunt visits him in Boston, the nephew takes her to a concert of Wagnerian music, although he is afraid she will no longer appreciate the music after having lived the hard life of a prairie woman for so long. The two arrive at the concert hall, take their seats, and listen to the orchestra.

After the concert is done, the aunt stares down at the stage until the musicians have left and the audience has scattered. The two last paragraphs of the story beautifully summarize her emptiness.

"I spoke to my aunt. She burst into tears and sobbed pleadingly, 'I don't want to go, Clark, I don't want to go!'"

"I understood. For her, just outside the door of the concert hall, lay the black pond with the cattle-tracked bluffs; the tall, unpainted house with weather-curled boards; naked as a tower, the crook-backed ash seedlings where the dishcloths hung to dry; the gaunt, molting turkeys picking up refuse about the kitchen door."

For some reason, I really connected with that passage. Although generations separate myself from that hardworking woman of the plains, and our circumstances could hardly be more different, I still have her fear. Sometimes the joy of music seems too good to be true - and sometimes I'm so scared that someday I, too, might lose it.

Archive link

July 19, 2004 21:12

Well, I turned fifteen years old today, and have to admit I feel none the wiser, older, or more intelligent because of it.

Two years ago this week I got one of my best birthday presents ever - my cheap little Czech warhorse of a violin. It's amazing the places that instrument and I have been together, and all the barriers we've broken together, and all the ideas we've shared together. All the ear-drums we've broken together...ha ha.

I've been thinking about sending my violin a "happy anniversary" card or something - I feel it deserves something for having dealt with me so patiently for so long - but unfortunately I have a feeling Hallmark doesn't carry "happy anniversary violin" cards. I guess a good polish, some Bach, and new strings will have to do.

Archive link

July 14, 2004 20:29

I've been thinking today...I wonder who decided or discovered...

- that orchestras should take the summer off?
- that male musicians should wear bow-ties?
- that performers should wear white in the summer?
- that stringed instruments should have f-holes?
- why not s-holes or i-holes or l-holes?
- that orchestras should wear formal attire?
- that the bottom of the bow should be referred to as the "frog"?
- that harmonics are possible?
- that horsehair would make a string vibrate?
- that a chunk of wood with strings on it could sound so gorgeous???

Archive link

More entries: August 2004June 2004

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Violinist.com Shopping Guide
Violinist.com Shopping Guide

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop



Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine