This past Sunday, I attended the 13th annual memorial concert for the late wife of one of my geriatric admirers. The pianist was 24, Chinese, and the recipient of countless prizes and fellowships. He played Bach, Brahms, Haydn, and Liszt–all pieces that sounded kind of alike, with odd flats and nerve-fraying chords throughout. Then, after taking his bow, he sat down and rattled off a little unnamed allegretto that felt like a kiss in a doorway during a sunshower. Very sweet. I wish I knew the title so I could add it to my list of moving instrumentals: "Portrait of Tracy" by Jaco Pastorius, "Pretty Little Ditty" by the RHCP's, "I Be Blowin'" by De La Soul…

Anyway, the music ended, the coffee and cookies materialized on the far table, and the room nearly tipped over as the grey hoardes flocked in that direction. (Anyone remember the old Colombian coffee ad?)

Ned Rorem's "Early in the Morning"–that's the song that the mystery encore put me in mind of. Different tempos, different keys, one instrumental, one gorgeously vocal (chef recommends: Susan Graham version)–but both evoking the sweet side of nostalgia that looks back to life before nostalgia.

 

On the 13th of next month, I will officially be eight years past my goal of publishing at thirty, and two years shy of my goal of hitting six continents by the age of forty (only four so far.) Nostalgia, indeed. Let down. The cold ashes of passion, hope. The lost promise of youth, etc etc etc.
 
 

 

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