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Nostalgia, Murder, Superstition

Hi Sarah,

Just thinking back to this afternoon. Tarragon has such great plays! Those three stark white bathtubs, with a drowning bride in each … can’t get them out of my head! Nearer My God to Thee is even worse. The Czech CD I’m playing seems to be successfully stopping the brain lock. Did you notice the audience did not consist of your usual silvery haired ladies? A pretty good cross section, I’d say.

 Czech Miniatures features Anton Kubalek, the Czech pianist, a man, who escaped the Dubcek revolution, and with whom I once studied when I first started teaching in Toronto. There’s a nostalgic, patriotic sort of piece by Joseph Suk that brings back memories of my treks around Prague in late August of 2007. One sunny afternoon, Staromestske, the Old Town Square, was filled with life: flag twirling and boot stomping routines carried out by smiling peasant girls and boys dressed in brightly embroidered shirts of reds and greens. Strange how I don’t usually see notes on a score when I listen to music but most often, I catch a flavour, a mood or an image. I walk again along the very streets of a particular region, see a familiar café or recall that unique corner building with its art deco pastel mosaic. Suddenly I’m back in the market eating a fat sausage on a paper plate and I glimpse a series of notes right there in the score or see the performing balalaika player thrumming away. I walked over the Charles Bridge with Catherine that August, and joined the ambling tourists in their superstitious caressing of St. Nepomuk's weather worn statue. Touching it is a Prague ritual that's supposed to bring good luck to the believer: it ensures that you will return to Prague soon. Nepomuk was the count's personal priest and when he refused to divulge details of the Queen's confession, was quickly disposed of.

Speaking of murder. That’s horrible about the doctor. I’ll have to read my Star to get the details. Maybe it was a lover's quarrel. Fill me in if you hear anything more. Did he know him well?

When I came home my inbox was filled with exhilarating school related messages: Marjorie, inviting us to Dim Sum (Christmas) with her family, as well as an email from a film producer busy filming at the Rijks and Van Gogh Museums, wondering about his daughter, Brianna's progress while he is away. I’ve taught all the girls in that family over the years until they left home to go to university. They are totally immersed in the arts. Wonderful for me, as there is all that great support and understanding from interested parents, likeminded people.

I’ll bring my Czech Miniatures next time we get together. There's a picture of Antonin on the cover. I did not realize at the time I studied with him how close we were in age. I had a certain attraction for this man who then had one glass eye and now has even less sight in the one so called good eye. There's more story there. One day on a cold afternoon, when we find a quaint little restaurant with a fireplace somewhere, we'll spill out our stories about former Profs, and discuss the intrigue of our university days.

See you Wednesday at Hildegarde. Whatever time works for you.


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