Who Heard Beethoven?

Denmark Opus 109

“I just thought she was a strange tourist……but the way she looked at me…. It was nice. She asked if she could play that old piano. Nobody ever plays it.

She touched the lid and opened it up. took some music out of a beat up plastic bag.

I will never forget it. The room dissolved into the sunlight and then that old piano was so beautiful. It was like rivers and mountains, trees and gardens of flowers. The clouds and the skies came down into the room. It felt like there was nobody there at all, and no longer any walls between inside and outside. just music everywhere. I don’t know how long she was playing and I don’t remember sitting down, but it seemed like the whole world slowly settled and my shop became a different place. When she stopped I could feel my body light and easy in the chair. My feet stopped aching and I could stand up straight. I gave her a cup of tea. You can’t take money after that.”

Sweden Opus 110

“We took Grandmama to the family grave yesterday. We really thought she wasn’t going to be able to walk from the car to the door , but we got inside and then this woman asked us if we would like to stay for some piano music. When she said Beethoven, Grandmama was really shaking. She is always talking about how her father played all of the piano sonatas. But the last sonatas were the finest and not many people play those. She is so sad without Grandpapa. She keeps talking about wanting to go home to him. 

We both knew she would love to hear Beethoven again. ….but you know how some people aren’t all that good at the piano and we were a bit dreading it if this woman was going to ruin it.

From the minute she sat down quietly, before she started we just knew there was something special going to happen. The first chords made like a deep breath and we could feel how Grandmama just was filling up with every note. She had her eyes closed and her breathing was easy. We were worried that the hard wooden seats would make her tired or uncomfortable but it was as though she started to straighten up and grow somehow…. Nadia took her hands. They were no longer cold or trembling, just warm and soft and every now and then she would lift a hand to her eyes to rub away her tears. Her eyes were even sparkling and in the crazy fast bit she was almost laughing. It seemed as though there was a long slow part which upset her. She bowed her head and rested it in her hands on the pew in front. 

What was more incredible was that near the end the music just went mad and she got so excited that she just jumped up and clapped and was nearly shouting. Her cheeks were really rosey and we had never seen her so energetic.
Note: Beethoven’s directions in the final fugue are ” poi a poi di nuovo vivente” (little by little regaining life)

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2 Responses to Who Heard Beethoven?

  1. Wendy H says:

    Yes yes Jenny
    and I hope people come forward to answer the questions
    they will
    Maybe not how or when or from where you might expect
    Lots of love

  2. Jenny, reading your blog is music to my ears and to my heart… Thanks for sharing!

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