If Music Be the Food of Love…

Sorry the video is so poor.  Her rich voice and the stellar acoustics brought the song to life for me.

I had a rehearsal today for a song I will play on Saturday.  A church friend and I were asked to do a flute and piano duet for the women’s retreat coming up this weekend.  To be clear:  I’ll be on flute.  We settled on a hymn everyone knows and got down to it.  I like playing but I haven’t played in months.  It just doesn’t come up.

She and I talked about what arrangement we wanted and how to make it flow.  We practiced a bit.  Then we started talking.  Can two women, left to their own devices, do anything else?

She shared with me about her early experiences around music.  She took piano lessons for several years as a child.  All her siblings did.  She learned some accordion, too, and clarinet.

“I never did it to become a concert pianist,” she stated.  “I simply did it for my own enjoyment.”

And, dear readers, that’s what’s missing for me.  I don’t really enjoy playing anymore.  Sure, certain notes sound clear and pure from my instrument.  They have a certain quality of tone.  Yet music used to feed me and keep me sane in a way that’s hard to explain.  I don’t need it anymore.  I still enjoy it, of course.  I love to sing praise songs, but generally those songs are simpler in structure and straightforward in execution.    They have to be for everyone to be able to engage in worship without having  a trained voice.

Some of my earliest memories contain music.  I’ve been captivated by its beauty, won over by its fluid melodies.  For the most part, songs without words don’t get much love in this country.  I’ve included a few samples most will recognize below.

The can-can…

I remember trying to learn “The Entertainer” by Scott Joplin on the piano.  Never managed it.

Frankly, I like “Fall” of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons better.  But to each his/her own.

And for the truly bombastic…

Now in my 5th decade (yikes!), I’m coming to terms with the fact that there are many seasons in our lives.  What feeds us and sustains us now may not later. I find at this point I’m more attached to words than music.  The text of Purcell’s song (at the top of the page) is a quote from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night:

DUKE ORSINO:
If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That strain again! it had a dying fall:
O, it came o’er my ear like the sweet sound,
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odour! Enough; no more:
‘Tis not so sweet now as it was before...

The arts have a unique integration.  Often one bleeds  into another, words inspiring songs which inspire art, and vice versa. In this way, our life’s creative works live on forever.

I understand a little how Duke Orsino feels.  I’m a bit sad about the loss of musical passion in my own life, thinking of all the time and effort I’ve invested over the years.  But it’s okay. We keep on changing and growing, and hopefully learning, as we mature. Nothing’s ever wasted.

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3 thoughts on “If Music Be the Food of Love…

  1. Remember, music has had a profound impact on your life, on your point of view, your ability to appreciate other art forms and your ability to relate to another human being. All your years in music have NOT been wasted because they made you who you are today, my sweet girl!

    Date: Thu, 27 Mar 2014 20:44:29 +0000 To: joan_cheston@hotmail.com

    Like

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