Today would have been my father’s 80th birthday. As I’ve written here before, a lot of our life together centered around music, and I really miss being able to talk with him about what I’m playing and listening to the way we did.
Some of you may also remember a post I wrote about my grandmother (shown here helping me stay focused at the piano, no easy task!) and my visit to her when she was bedridden a couple of years ago. She passed away a couple of months ago, and recently, I went back to LA to help my mom and aunt clear our her house. While there, I borrowed a cello from the nice folks at Benning Violins (thank you, Laura!), a wonderful violin shop around the corner on Ventura Boulevard, and recorded the next piece in our Bach cycle, the Allemande from the C major Suite, while sitting on her deck (with a very nice view of the San Fernando Valley behind me).
Both my dad and grandma loved Bach. Dad used to say that Bach’s music was “idiot-proof”, and would sound good even on the kazoo. And yes, there are several examples of that on youtube – this one is my favorite. You can see my grandma’s love for Bach in the picture above – there’s a little bust of J.S. sitting on the piano keeping an eye on things (the piano’s name was Sebastian, too).
It makes me laugh to play Bach in LA, a city I am pretty sure Johann Sebastian would not have enjoyed – if there’s a bigger mismatch between a person and a place, I can’t think of it. Although, come to think of it, the Allemande has a relentless optimism to it that actually makes it the perfect LA piece – it’s very sunny! It also fits how I think of both my dad and grandma (who both called LA home), so it’s a perfect way both to wish him a Happy Birthday and to say goodbye to her.
Till next time,