Tuesday, December 22, 2009


My friend Carol and I went to see Victoria the other day. While we both enjoyed the movie, it had an added dimension for me. Running through the story was Schubert's Serenade. It's the music that's playing as you read this. It turns out that it PrinceAlbert was a Schubert fan. It brought back vivid memories for me, of the time I was auditing a class at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, or SAIS, in Washington, D.C., where I lived for a number of years.

There was a room in the basement that had a piano, and every so often I would go there and play. I was short on music sheets and very soon playing from memory wasn't enough (or frustrating because I had forgotten a lot of what I'd learned in my years of piano, begun at the tender age of 5 years old, frustrating not to remember two-thirds of Chopin's Polonaise or Listz's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 .....)

So one day I lifted the piano bench and went through the music books in there. I found several pieces that looked interesting, and they became favorites. One of them was Schubert's Serenade. I fell in love with it and would play it over and over. If memory serves, the other pieces were Georgia on my Mind and None but the Lonely Heart by one of the Tchaikovskys.

Memory is a potent thing. Music can take me back to a time where every note comes alive and I remember it all so well. Sometimes it fills me with joy, and sometimes it squeezes my heart so much that I can't listen to it. Not until the memory has softened.

I've kept my music all these years because you never know when you'll come across a piano, do you!


  1. thank you for this! I have not yet seen the movie, and want to. my mother was a piano instructor and I grew up with classical music and this piece was especially loved. grazie!

  2. how beautiful. i so enjoyed reading this post while Seranade plays in the background.


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