hints, allegations and things left unsaid...
flickr | feed | latest | last 10 

Squirrels in my backyard and a concert of piano music for four hands...

I begin this blog with a small addendum to last. I almost forgot to mention the serene weather I came across while drive back to airport. The Indian landscape undergoes elaborate transformation each year beginning June. This is the time when monsoon ("rainy-season", I've always wondered what would've Vivaldi conjured had he been exposed to monsoons, for his four-seasons are sorely missing this one) unleashes its much needed fury on the parched land. Kerala beckons the arrival of the monsoons for rest of the country, and May is when you start seeing clear signals of what is coming. Since it was mid-May already, the monsoon clouds had started weaving their magic in Kochi skies. Thick, dark patches of clouds, moving about the blue skies. The movement had a strange touch of royal elegance to it, the clouds moved as if they were not being jostled around by winds, but were moving on their own free will - the kind of measured movement that you expect from a pawn being slid on the surface of the chess board by a chess player certain about his next move.

Saturday was a very warm day by Bangalore standards - also making it ideal for laundry ;-). I happen to live in a second floor apartment which is surrounded by trees on three sides. The height at second floor is just right to allow you intrusion into private lives of birds, squirrels and other tree-bound creatures. As I put my laundry out for drying, I couldn't help but notice the game-play of squirrels on the tree facing my balcony. They looked flustered with afternoon heat, but certainly didn't see it as a reason to drain their enthusiasm or zeal for life and playfulness (or perhaps its their lush, shady dwellings that keep them merry). Making shrill squeaks, hopping from tree to tree, nibbling on seeds - blissfully ignorant of my presence all the while. Just a few days back, I had discovered a drey (squirrel nest) in my Bedroom window. This will take a little explaining - my bedroom window has two panes - one mosquito net and a glass pane. I bolt the mosquito net pane from inside and leave the glass pane open such that it forms an angle with the mosquito net pane - leaving about 6" space. Now this window of mine opens "in" a tree, which is why it behooved one of the bolder squirrels to inhabit the little gorge between my two window panes. For a month or so, I had keen company after which the squirrel vanished - so did the drey. What transpired is still a mystery to me, but fortunately there are plenty of squirrels back there in the trees to make for an engrossing, meditative watching (and either they don't know or they don't care, for they don't seem to mind my prying eyes :-))

Alliance de Francaise in Bangalore played host to a piano concert on Saturday evening. The concert was marked "du Play - A concert of piano music for four hands". When I first read about it, my inability to think straight rendered itself beautifully (?) to hallucination of a four-handed monster gleefully stroking a grand Erard, which after some afterthought changed to two people playing (two) pianos in tandem. Call it my ignorance - but I could not think that it would be two people, sitting next to each other, playing the *same* piano, at the same time - which is precisely what it turned out to be... (Sorry, no four handed monsters yet. And for sci-fi aficionados - in the movie Gattaca, there is a moment when our protagonists go for a piano recital by this gentleman who has six digits, for the music he played could only be played if you had an extra finger - but that was science fiction and this reality).

Rants aside, the concert was brilliant, though marred by poor hall acoustics and inferior piano quality (so now I was denied both my four handed monster and the Erard ;-). Listening to Rudolf Serkin perform Beethoven's Piano Concerto No.5, on CD, does have the adverse effect of setting the bar too high - sometimes you wonder if its worth paying for a live performance when you could have the world's best (pianist and acoustics) in your living room for same price). Nalini Suryawanshi and Preetam Koilpillai played deftly, occasionally swapping their places around the middle C for some compositions. The second half was my favorite with jovial rendition of Albert W. Ketelby's "In a Persian Market" (which if I remember correctly has been plagiarized by at least one Indian composer for his song - "Sayonara Sayonara"). You need so much understanding, such apt co-ordination between the partners (with a delicate air of intimacy, as much as a live audience of 200+ affords) for this "strange" duet to work that it borders on romanticism (For some funny reason I couldn't help but think of Julia from Vikram Seth's "An Equal Music", who is determined to continue her career as solo pianist despite her impending deafness).

So its another one of those days when I would hit the sack, appalled at my ignorant self of yesterday. Live and learn - time to scour music shops for piano compositions for four hands but for now I have to be content with "Rondo Vivace" from Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 1.
posted: 25.5.03

Post a Comment

Archives Blogroll

All material posted on this blog is copyrighted and may not be used in any form without the explicit permission of the author.