I had an appointment to get my hair cut yesterday at 11:30, but I got sidetracked and didn't realize what time it was—exactly 11:30, and I was sitting around chatting with a friend. I jumped in my car as quick as I could, called the salon and promised to be there in 10 minutes flat. Vroom.
But then I turned on the car radio, and this is what I heard—Chopin's piano concerto no. 1. Aahhh, what can I say about this piece of music and the effect it has on me, the effect it has had on me since my teenage years? Let me try to explain.
When I was 15 or 16, my sister Melanie gave me a Chopin album for Christmas, and I nearly wore the thing out from playing it so much on my mother's big console stereo, a formidable piece of furniture. I would set the needle on the edge of the album, lay down on the floor in the living room and wait to drift off with the notes. I remember closing my eyes and imagining myself as the pianist on stage with the orchestra, and it became such a wonderfully distracting fantasy. The music and the idea of my playing it was a balm for everything that weighed on me in those teenage years—loneliness, fairly odd parents, the fear of the future, the fear of having no future. Of course I never learned to play this piece because it was far beyond my abilities, but a girl can dream.
So, I did not rush to the salon with the concerto filling my car. I took my good sweet time, and I pulled into the parking lot just as the pianist touched on the final note of the middle movement. Fortunately, the salon keeps its clock a little slow intentionally, but even if it kept perfect time, I would still have strolled in without concern for the hour. I had Chopin in my head, and I was floating.
I can't post the entire piece here for you, but here is a taste, part of the middle section that made being 15 but wanting to be 25 tolerable. Listen to it, and see if it doesn't help lighten the load even after the last measure—it begins about a minute into the first video and finishes in the second. Tell me if it doesn't make you float a little like a falling leaf, not so intentionally that you don't mind venturing to the left or right now and then on your way to the ground: