my mom was a concert pianist. From what I understand she was quite good. She taught my cousin how to play the piano when she was a little girl; the student surpassed the teacher and at the ripe old age of six she was a soloist on stage and making headlines all over Cuba. When I came along about 20 years later there was a grand piano in my house and she tried to teach me but unlike my cousin who was clearly a prodigy, I would have none of it. Regrets, I've had a few. I may have had absolutely no interest in playing it...well, I should say "playing it properly" since I was quite the expert on banging on the keys...I sure did enjoy listening. Her favorites were Chopin and Schubert and the great Cuban composer, Ernesto Lecuona. She stopped playing when we left Cuba and her piano was taken away. My classical music education however did not stop. My father
was an opera buff and a lover of classical music. One of the first things he bought after we arrived in this country was a record player then he slowly started to amass a quite impressive record collection of classical music and operas. I remember sitting on the couch which doubled as my brother's bed listening to this beautiful music with him as he would close his eyes and lean his head back to capture every note in all their glory. His favorite was probably Beethoven's pastoral and Rigoletto's La donna e mobile and Pagliacci but there really was no bias so I got to listen to quite an array of composers. When I started to take ballet lessons I did well because I could feel the music, I had been feeling it since day 1. At home we have a very eclectic music collection, back in the 80's Frank was a part-time DJ so there is dance music of all kinds, there's soul, funk, rock, Dean Martin, Bobby Darin, Tony Bennett, favorite movie soundtracks (my personal favorites, 2046 and Talk to Her) tons of jazz and a lot of classical including an entire Ernesto Lecuona collection which my mother bought me. So during this, the Christmas season
are there any more perfect compositions than Beethoven's Joy and Handel's Messiah? I think not. I have seen snippets of Messiah on and off throughout the years on PBS but have never seen it performed. So imagine my delight when I got a call from Frank on Monday which went something like this:
F: what are you doing on Thursday?
Me: Nothing that I know of, why?
F: Want to meet me at Lincoln Center at 7:30?
I don't have a bucket list...or at least I didn't before. Check.