Friday, October 21, 2022

When I want a melody . . .

I bought this book of Strauss Waltzes in Graz, Austria in summer of 1980. I spent my hard-earned playing-on-the-street money on it, because I was asked to play a wedding reception at some point in August. I really needed a place to stay after the festival I was with was over, and before the flute competition I was attending in Budapest began, so I bartered a place to stay in the interim in exchange for playing. I found an American violinist in my orchestra who was staying in Europe (and also needed a place to stay), and we played these waltzes as flute and violin duets.

A good time was had by all.

I carried this volume from place to place in my travels, and it ended up sitting in a file cabinet at my home in Charleston for many decades. Sometime during the last week I decided to vary my piano-playing practice, and plunked this gem on the piano. I love playing these waltzes, and I love what playing these waltzes does for my piano playing. I also love the way they inspire my imagination, and compel me to improvise (in three-quarter time, of course).

I understand what inspired Gershwin. I understand why Brahms lamented that he hadn't written "An der schönen blauen Donau."

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