In his book Piano Lessons, Noah Adams describes
his attempts to learn to play the piano. He decides to learn
to play Tramerei, although his teacher suggests something easier.
The culmination of his effort is when he dons a tuxedo, lights
a candelabra on the piano and plays the piece for his wife as
a Christmas gift.
Karen McFarlane recently described to me a surprise
concert that her artists gave her on the occasion of her upcoming
retirement. Entitled Musical Gifts, the concert consisted of
original music, either commissioned or composed by the artists
themselves. A poem and a hymn were included. Even to have one
piece written expressly for you would be a treat; I can imagine
that this outpouring of gifts would be almost overwhelming.
Shortly before my mother's death, I asked her
what she listened to during her long housebound days. She said
she mostly listened to old tapes of my recitals. I found she
had a sizable collection of these tapes, most of which I had
forgotten about. Most of us play so often and so easily that
we have grown accustomed to the fact of our ability to perform.
But our family and friends still see it as something marvelous
that we do. Consider a gift of music this year. Maybe a tape
of organ music, or if you are creative, a song or arrangement.
Have a little private concert for a loved one. My mother used
to call handmade gifts love gifts, and they were the best of
Joy and peace to you at this holiday season.