337 For the Love of Music

I sing with the Brooklyn Conservatory Chorale in Park Slope, which is a wonderful group of musicians who get together every Monday to sing classical choral pieces. The conductor is an older woman, and our accompanist (an accomplished pianist) is her husband. We had our winter concert this past weekend, and because of her husband falling ill and being admitted to the hospital, we had to hire replacements for them both.

As far as his hospitalization, I am not clear on all the details, but he was having trouble eating and was losing weight rapidly. We received an email Friday morning that he has cancer cells in his stomach, but was home from the hospital. It also said he would be at our concerts this weekend to play Schoenberg’s ‘Six Little Piano Pieces Op. 19’, that he had agreed to play.

On Friday night I didn’t think much about it, but as I watched him play at yesterday’s concert, it overwhelmed me. How could he pull himself out of bed, weak, with a new cancer diagnosis, just to play for these two local concerts? For the love of music I guess.

Before he played, he spoke to the audience about how he had fallen in love with these pieces when he was 20 years old, which was at least 50 years ago. When he played, he played them with such emotion and vigor, that it was stunning. Our conductor, his wife, sat in the audience and beamed with pride. As the atonal music filled the temple, I couldn’t help but think that for some people, entering into the arts is like getting married. It’s a commitment, and even in sickness the artist is tried and true. I wish him a speedy recovery.

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