A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

Sean Chen, the Moonlight Sonata, My Mother & Echoes of Christmas
Monday, December 19, 2016


Sean Chen, November 26 2016


On Saturday November 26, 2016 my youngest daughter, Hilary (45 this past December 14) and I went to a concert for unusual reasons. It was a MüzeWest concert at St. Helen’s Anglican Church. It featured American pianist Sean Chen.

Faithful readers of my blog will know that I usually attend Early Music Vancouver concerts, baroque concerts of any kind (this one also at St. Helen's),   new music festivals sponsored by the VSO, and I am a fan of the Turning Point Ensemble.

At age 74 I am a remnant of the last century and particularly one that came from a family where we had home concerts. My grandmother Lolita was a coloratura soprano, my uncle Tony played the recorder and had a fine tenor voice and my aunt Dolly plaid the violin. But it was my mother who played the piano superbly but paid our rent as a physics and chemistry teacher.

The concerts of my boyhood in Buenos Aires usually happened at my grandmother’s who lived in downtown Buenos Aires. My mother and I took Tram 35 from our Coghlan neiborhood.


If my uncle was there, my mother played Gershwin and Porter songs for my grandmother and uncle’s duos. But our evening never ended until my mother played Chopin and Beethoven’s Sonata No. 14 in C - sharp minor, Op27 No.2.

Around 1973 when my wife Rosemary and I could hardly pay our rent my mother, who was living with us offered to sell her piano. This she did and I always regretted that I did nothing to stop her.

A fully restored 100 year-old Chickering baby grand in our present home is my only apology for that. She would have loved the piano.

Now my youngest daughter Hilary smiles like her father (me) and I smile crooked like my mother did. When I watch Hilary at the dinner table when she visits on Saturdays it seems like my mother is present.

I did not have to explain to her why I wanted to listen to Sean Chen play the Moonlight Sonata. She knows about my remembrance obsession.

We enjoyed it. I had to explain to Lauren that the rest of the concert was significant, too. Chen played Maurice Ravel’s Le tombeau de Couperin and a Chen arrangement of Rachmaninoff’s Adagio from Symphony No2 in E Minor, Op 27.

My mother loved all the romantics and I remember her listening to Edvard Grieg.

She considered Bach as a fourth person of the HolyTrinity so the Leopold Godowsky arrangement of Bach’s Cello Suite NO 3 in C major BWV 1009 so this was special, too but more so because of my career in Vancouver as a magazine photographer. I wrote about a Godowsky relative here

All in all it was an evening of reflection, a warm reflection of times that will not return. And today as my wife wraps Christmas presents we have been listening to my mother’s favourite Christmas record, with pianist George Feyer, which she bought in Mexico City in 1955 when we moved from Buenos Aires. That I still have it and that it plays in my Sony linear tracking turntable without a pop (almost) is a miracle, A Christmas miracle.

George Feyer's Echoes of Christmas - Complete record




     

Previous Posts
The Truth About Redheads

Randy Rampage- A Passionate Gentle Soul

The Junket

R.d. Cane & Betty Bathory Ring Flashed For Me

Teresa Brown -- Discovered - Revisited

April in December

The Rapid Demise of Conceptual Portraiture

The Photographer Photographed

If A Canvas Could Speak

The First Time - Again



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10/16/16 - 10/23/16

10/23/16 - 10/30/16

10/30/16 - 11/6/16

11/6/16 - 11/13/16

11/13/16 - 11/20/16

11/20/16 - 11/27/16

11/27/16 - 12/4/16

12/4/16 - 12/11/16

12/11/16 - 12/18/16

12/18/16 - 12/25/16

12/25/16 - 1/1/17

1/1/17 - 1/8/17

1/8/17 - 1/15/17

1/15/17 - 1/22/17

1/22/17 - 1/29/17

1/29/17 - 2/5/17

2/5/17 - 2/12/17

2/12/17 - 2/19/17

2/19/17 - 2/26/17

2/26/17 - 3/5/17

3/5/17 - 3/12/17

3/12/17 - 3/19/17

3/19/17 - 3/26/17

3/26/17 - 4/2/17

4/2/17 - 4/9/17

4/9/17 - 4/16/17

4/16/17 - 4/23/17

4/23/17 - 4/30/17

4/30/17 - 5/7/17

5/7/17 - 5/14/17

5/14/17 - 5/21/17

5/21/17 - 5/28/17

5/28/17 - 6/4/17

6/4/17 - 6/11/17

6/11/17 - 6/18/17

6/18/17 - 6/25/17

6/25/17 - 7/2/17

7/2/17 - 7/9/17

7/9/17 - 7/16/17

7/16/17 - 7/23/17

7/23/17 - 7/30/17

7/30/17 - 8/6/17

8/6/17 - 8/13/17

8/13/17 - 8/20/17

8/20/17 - 8/27/17

8/27/17 - 9/3/17

9/3/17 - 9/10/17

9/10/17 - 9/17/17

9/17/17 - 9/24/17

9/24/17 - 10/1/17

10/1/17 - 10/8/17

10/8/17 - 10/15/17

10/15/17 - 10/22/17

10/22/17 - 10/29/17

10/29/17 - 11/5/17

11/5/17 - 11/12/17

11/12/17 - 11/19/17

11/19/17 - 11/26/17

11/26/17 - 12/3/17

12/3/17 - 12/10/17

12/10/17 - 12/17/17