Monday, 7 April 2008

Rachmaninov, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Variation 18

This is the first piece of music I remember ever hearing. For the first three years of my life we lived in an apartment backing onto the Rosedale ravine on Bloor Street East in Toronto. There was a sunporch on the back of the apartment, screened in on two sides, and the light that streamed in was all yellow and green, filtered by the leaves of summer. I have always had a vague memory of playing on the floor and having this recording playing on a scratchy recording in the background. It was many years before I heard it again and recognized it as the piece I had heard in childhood.

For this and other reasons I have always felt a kind of connection with Rachmaninoff and have loved his music. My mother, who was a wonderful pianist herself, had seen Rachmaninoff himself perform live at Eaton's auditorium in Toronto. It was one of her favourite memories.

I have asked my family to play this at my funeral (not that I expect it any time soon, Lord willing!). But it was there at the beginning of my life and I would like it to accompany me out.

Take Care

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