Tuesday, July 8, 2014

one thing remains: tying knots, ending eras

listen to Largo from Bach's Violin Sonata No. 3
Tonight was my last lesson with Mr. Lin. As I shed my shoes at the door, I heard a parent bawling with great passion (her little girl stood there smiling, shifting her weight from one purple-socked foot to another), lamenting the loss of a teacher that they'd known for years. The weekly question: "What's our mission for today?" Mr. Lin turned to a slow movement riddled with double-triple-quadruple stops and commanded me to play. That piece, he told me, was so dear to him that he asked a friend to perform it at his and Mrs. Lin's wedding. "A very philosophical piece," he said, "So simple. Here is the tumult; there, the resolution; and at last a peace. In his music, Bach always sides with  goodness. That's why it's good to have religion, because of the peace at the end of the piece." How to best learn this Bach, I wondered? One must process all the voices at once. Next, separate and liken them to a string quartet. Give each a corresponding color. Violin I floats in heaven, and the bass is the earth. The piece sunk deeply into the loam, before rising forth the roam. I handed him the print of a Picasso painting, "Child with a Dove," and bid my teacher a journey with the wind (yi lu shun feng). Less than a year ago, I sent him a link of me playing violin by the window. Mr. Lin found me.

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