Posted by: ktzefr | March 25, 2011

Always Chasing Rainbows…

Friday afternoon.  It’s all sunshine and spring-like, despite the forecast for snow on Sunday.  I’m making discoveries in old notebooks and listening to Horowitz play Chopin.  Old notes, old music.  Produced in 1984 by RCA records.  It still sounds great.  There’s a picture of the ocean lined by waving seagrass inside the plastic case.  It looks like the Eastern Shore.

When this cassette tape was new we listened to it on drives to the Eastern Shore.  Late Friday nights, after working in the city all day and being backed up in traffic for miles trying to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, Chopin was soothing.  Music is like that; it can take you from one place to another, from craziness to sanity.  I suppose it works in reverse, too.  In any case, I found the old cassette and some “musical notes” in a small notebook with yellowing pages…


Tschaikowsky said, “our whole life alternates between grim reality and fluttering dreams of happiness.”  Rejoice in the joy of others, he said, and you can still live.


Schumann jumped from a bridge into the Rhine, was saved by a fisherman, sent to the madhouse, and snuffed out in his prime at forty-six.  But his “Rhenish Symphony” lives these many years, along with the ancient castles, lovely vineyards, and the great Cathedral of Cologne —  shelled many times during the war, it still watches over the river.


Schubert sometimes wrote six songs a day and sold them for twenty cents a piece.  Music leaped from his heart with little labor.  It has been said that he was the embodiment of art as a miracle.  Walking past an outdoor restaurant one day he spotted friends reading Shakespeare.  His eyes caught hold of Cymbeline — “Hark, Hark the Lark.”  If only he had paper… He wrote the song on the bill of fare.  But he died in poverty at thirty-one.


Chopin was not happy in beautiful Majorca and almost died before they got him back to France.  He called a woman named Delphina to his death bed to play sonatas for him.  He was just forty years old when his fantasy ended.  Schumann’s famous eulogy to Chopin — “Hats off, gentlemen!  A genius!”  Chopin’s “Fantaisie-Impromptu” supplied the tune for those pre-war days…”I’m Always Chasing Rainbows.”





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: