Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Musical bequests

Just of late I've been thinking a lot about mortality and how life as you know it can change on the flip of a coin; the things that you take for granted gone, or changed irrevocably.  This train of thought led me to thinking quite a lot about my childhood and memories that I cherish.  Then one day in the car I was listening to a radio programme where Caroline Quentin was talking about two pieces of music - one that she inherited from her mother and one that she wants to bequeath to her own children.  It was a very moving piece and got me thinking along the same lines and I asked myself the questions...what music did my parents pass on that has resonance for me and what would I like to leave my children?  This is what I came up with:

Whenever I hear this rag, I'm transported back to summer evenings in our childhood home in Newcastle.  We had a piano in our front room and both my parents and my sister and I played.  I actually hated my piano practise, but enjoyed the fun of playing duets with my mum.  My overriding memory of these summer evenings is of lying in bed listening to my dad playing Scott Joplin rags into the evening as the sun went down.  The Maple Leaf Rag was one of his favourites and he practised it over and over to get it right.  Occasionally I'd creep down the stairs and sit on the bottom step watching my Dad play, the late evening sun glancing off the windows and I'd watch the dust dance in its warm haze.  Somehow, the music and the proximity of my parents, coupled with warm summer nights, made me feel secure and ensconced in family love.  I remember drifting off to sleep with the piano music drifting under my door.  I've never felt as cocooned in love and security as I did then.

What would I choose to leave to my children? I have agonised over this actually - should it be classical? should it be trendy? Will they cringe over my music choices?  What message do I want to give them through the music?  After much deliberation I came up with this:

I love this track unapologetically!  It reminds me of being a teenager; full of dreams and hopes; full of certainty and aspirations. Now when I listen to it, it continues to instil in me that flicker of desire, an anticipation of good things to come; for me it's a reminder that no matter how dark the clouds, the sun is always shining above them.  I hand this over to my children to remind them that no matter what life throws at you, there is always hope, there is always sunshine to be found and there is most definitely always a blue sky somewhere... 

I'd love to know what music you've inherited and what you'd pass on to others?

1 comment:

  1. ooooh...where to start.. loved this. Made me think about my own childhood... thank you!