I was bored and I had money to spend

sorabji.com: Why did you do it?: I was bored and I had money to spend

Rhiannon on Saturday, June 26, 1999 - 10:22 am:

    Last night, I bought "The Masterpieces of Maurice Ravel" while I was waiting impatiently for my brother to purchase a four-track and a microphone. I wandered over to the sheet music section, which was awfully small considering the size of the store, and there I saw the Ravel. I have never played anything by Ravel and I was intrigued. It was $8.95, which I thought was reasonable, and flipping through it, the pieces looked approachable. So I bought it. It took about 1/2 hour to buy it because it wasn't entered in the computer. About 15 min. into that 1/2 hour I lost my taste for the Ravel, but I felt bad about telling the clerk to forget it after he had spent all that time trying to search his computer for the entry. So I bought it out of sympathy for the poor disgruntled clerk, basically.

    When I brought the book home and started playing away, I realized immediately that all the pieces were way out of my league. Like way out. One, whose French name escapes me but which translates to "A boat on the ocean" or something, has each hand playing in a different time signature. Probably no problem for the more experienced player, but which strikes me as defying the laws of the space/time contiuum and makes me nervous about even trying to get it right. I can't even imagine what it sounds like.

    All this makes me wish I had listened to the hundreds of people that told me when I was twelve that I'd regret quitting my piano lessons. Dammit, I hate that!

    I've always kept up playing. I'm very good (compared to others I know) at sight-reading, so I've never been at a loss for things to play. But I haven't progressed in skill any because I have no one to teach me any new techniques. And I have too short of an attention span to stay with one piece for very long and master it. So Ravel will always be out of my league.

    I just wasted $8.95.

By Waffles on Saturday, June 26, 1999 - 02:21 pm:

    improvise honey.........i am a completely self taught musician, make your own chords, find your own sounds....i find digging deep within yourself and experimenting will get you a lot further than a song book

By Rhiannon on Saturday, June 26, 1999 - 05:05 pm:

    Hey, you can't improvise Ravel! And right now, I want to play "Jeux d'eau", not something I could come up with myself. So there.

By Sorabji on Saturday, June 26, 1999 - 09:18 pm:

    being unable to sightread Jeux d'eau. is not my idea of something to be depressed about. it's one of Ravel's most difficult piano scores, though nothing compared to the Ondine. Ravel didn't generally write piano music that you could just sit down and play, whatever your technique. the common wisdom is to try the Sonatine as a good introduction to his piano music, but i always found the Sonatine kind of feeble. Even the Pavane is more satisfying.

    at any rate, i've decided to start giving my realaudio piano improvisations descriptive names, since i don't think anyone cared to listed to "Improvisation #4, February 2, 1997" any more than anything else.

    this one is now called Waiting for the pornographic video to rewind so we can watch it again

By Sheila on Saturday, June 26, 1999 - 09:46 pm:

    Not funny, Mr. Evil Overlord. Warning to all: once it starts playing, you cannot stop it. Even if you want to. Even if the hounds start to bay. What was this, one of those really long pornographic films with a plot and everything? ControlAltDelete. Perhaps that will work.

By Sorabji on Saturday, June 26, 1999 - 09:57 pm:


    you have issues.

    unlike me.

By Rhiannon on Saturday, June 26, 1999 - 10:19 pm:

    Thanks for the encouragement. I tried the Sonatine, but I got bored. As many times as I've heard the Pavane, it hasn't bored me yet. The chords are too amazing.

    My mother used to play the second movement from one of his piano concertos, which was very slow (obviously), simple, and beautiful. But I don't know which concerto it was, and I don't think I'd recognize it if I heard it. Blast.

    Your recording worked fine for me. How is it that you never seem to make mistakes when you improvise? Even the dissonances sound thought-out and appropriate. *sigh* You represent all I'd like to be and can never achieve. Musically, that is.

    (I feel like an Old Testament prophet right now. "Hey, buddy, guess who just spoke to me?")

By Rhiannon on Friday, August 20, 1999 - 08:52 pm:

    Bought a recording of Ravel's piano concertos tonight...

    ...listening to the second movement of that Concerto in G major and believing it may be one of the most exquisite things I've ever heard....

    ...words fail....

By Rhiannon on Friday, August 20, 1999 - 09:27 pm:

    My uncle played this concerto when he was 17. He was a concert pianist for most of his life. He went to Juilliard and spent around 20 years in the Army as the resident pianist at West Point. The last time I saw him in concert he played Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue and he was fabulous.

    He's a musical genius. But a few years ago he became a born-again Christian and gave up playing because he felt that God had decided to take away his talent. Now he lives in a tiny apartment on 42nd St. in Manhattan, spiritually counseling gay people, trying to 'convert' them to heterosexuality. He makes no money. He won't play the piano when he comes to visit us. He doesn't even listen to music anymore.

    I don't know if I can say this right, but listening to this piece right now and thinking about my uncle makes me sadder than I've been in a long time. I don't understand how someone who had the ability to create as much beauty as he did could possibly think that God would take that away from him.

    He can still play. It's not like he has arthritis or broke his hands or anything. He just won't do it, and so now it's been at least 7 years since he's touched the keys.

    I can't imagine how he's still alive. I would think that if someone had that much brilliance and was so successful in playing each piece that he wanted to that level of skill, perfectly, so that all pieces were in his reach and he could play absolutely anything he desired, because he had mastered every technique and was also gifted with extraordinary sensitivity and creativity, and then he suddenly stopped playing...he would find it hard to want to live anymore.

    Imagine all that beauty flowing out of you and then nothing. And then surrounding yourself with unhappy people in a dirty place, thinking God wants it this way. How could you still love God? God would never do that to anyone.

    Wouldn't you think that playing made you closer to God? Especially this Ravel concerto. You feel closer to God just listening to it. How could you give that up? Willingly?

    I don't know if he released any commercial recordings. I know he did record some Christmas music a few years back with his friend, who is a flautist.

    His name is Vincent DiFiore.

By Lawanda on Saturday, August 21, 1999 - 10:30 am:

    I understand how that could make you sad. I'm sad too. I would thank God every minute of my life for a talent such as that.

    On the other hand, I draw, paint, whatnot, and I don't do that much. Maybe this story will inspire me to create.

By Gee on Saturday, August 21, 1999 - 07:39 pm:

    You're lucky Lawanda. I've always wished I could paint. I hate saying that, but it's true. I often see things that I'd like to recreate (just natural beauty crap, like the sky, trees, etc.) and putting it into words just doesn't cut the mustard. My brother used to draw when he was younger. He'd draw comicbooktype stuff. He'd wanted to be a comic book artist. Then he when he met his girlfriend he "grew up" and dropped his dream in favor of a nice stable job.

    My mother used to play the chello when she was very young. She'd had an audition for some prestigious childrens orchestra one day, and she's been playing basketball the day before and she'd broken her finger. She didn't get it set properly, and it didn't heal right, and she was never able to play the same again. She was never able to play properly again.

    So that's two people who've lost their dreams. I love to write. And I haven't felt inspired to write very much for the past several years, whereas when I was younger I'd just shoot 'em out right and left. It makes me wonder if I'm losing my dream too, in a much slower way than my mother or brother did.

    What kind of stuff do you draw?

By Agatha on Saturday, August 21, 1999 - 08:04 pm:

    gee, you can paint. just don't set yourself up with any crazy expectations, and do it. easier said than done, i know, but it is highly possible.

By Lawanda on Saturday, August 21, 1999 - 09:56 pm:

    That's true! Just let go, and you can.

    Right now, I draw garden plans. I draw hundreds of them in the months of December to February. Funny thing, I haven't followed ANY of them to the letter yet. My neighbor always asks me "Don't you ever leave a plant in the ground for more than one year?"

    I doodle for the kids, sketch out children's book ideas.

    The first and last painting I did was for my mom. Acrylic painting that is. She was always bugging me about trying acrylics, so I gave it a shot. Flat, kind of uninspired, but not really bad. I did the painting after she visited me in September of 1996. I never got to give it to her. She passed on in October. When I went to the hospital, I put it in her room. My sister took it home, it's in a closet. She can't stand to look at it, either could I, just too much.

By Waffles on Sunday, August 22, 1999 - 12:54 pm:

    we keep a stock of acrylics and canvases in the house for days like..................well today actually.......we suck gee............it doesn't matter though, and actually we get better each time.....just paint something

By Gee on Sunday, August 22, 1999 - 05:17 pm:

    I like to draw happy faces and hearts. Wait, that's doodling. Does that still count?

By Waffles on Monday, August 23, 1999 - 11:13 am:

    no doodling consists of stick figures and strange looking automobiles.....and other random mind farts......happy faces and hearts are pefectly legit......art.....

By Gee on Friday, September 3, 1999 - 04:38 am:

    I heard that what you doodle says something about you. I forget what hearts and happy faces are. Clint drew wiggly little lines. I wonder what that means.

By Rhiannon on Friday, September 3, 1999 - 03:12 pm:

    Um...not to change the subject (back to the *original* subject, I might add ;)), but I got the score for the Ravel Concerto in G major, and the first part of the second movement is relatively easy to play and SO beautiful. The second part is full of runs, but still, not that overwhelming (compared to the other movements, and other Ravel especially...holy cow, that stuff's scary!)

    Anyway, I highly recommend to anyone with some knowledge of piano to check out the Ravel G -- you just feel great when you play it. There is so much room for expression and your own personality in the piece that it welcomes anybody who tries it. Try it!


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