|Leslie Dala - 31 August 2020|
Today, my 78th birthday I will remember (for as long as I am alive) as one of the best I have ever had.
I did not have to eat a horrible birthday cake or suffer listening to people sing Happy Birthday.
It was a sad birthday in that my Rosemary is currently visiting our eldest daughter Alexandra in Lillooet. I have had the sticky (they are like glue) companionship of our brother and sister cats, Niño and Niña,
Why was today special? Consider that the handsome musical director of the Vancouver Bach Choir, Leslie Dala, who has his hands (he is also a conductor) in many things as seen here. He called me up a few days ago knowing that today was my birthday offering to play Bach’s complete Goldberg Variations for me on our 100-year-old fully restored Chickering baby grand.
I sat, an audience of one, in our piano room for almost 46 minutes of stellar music (just for me!).
After that we consumed a whole bottle of Argentine Catena Malbec accompanied by an Emmentaler and a Spanish quince jelly.
Our conversation (sobremesa it is called in Spanish when one chats intelligently at a dinner table) was fun. It seems that Dala has been practicing the Goldbergs that will be in a concert ten days hence.
While I am not of blue blood, for those 46 minutes, I felt like a duke, even a king. How about that and in my birthday?
But in spite of the wonder of the afternoon I felt some melancholy during the performance. My mother played the piano very well in her last 10 years of life she developed Menniere's Disease. At first she had a persistent ringing in the ear. Then the nerve died and she was hit with deafness and loss of balance. She would cry in desperation while playing telling me that she could only imagine in her memory what she was playing.
Around 1971 my Rosemary told me that we had no money to pay the mortgage for our little brick house in Arboledas, Estado de Mexico. My mother sold her piano (she cried). All these years I have felt a tremendous guilt.
Today my melancholy, thanks to Dala and his playing became a happy moment in which I dedicated the concert to a woman, my mother, friend of my Rosemary, who sacrificed so much but was never ever able to listen to the Goldbergs played live.
As Christ said in the New Testament in Luke 22:19, "Do this in remembrance of me."