Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Entry 1: Five 8-1/2" X 11" pages of typing; two readable

Just this morning I was walking and stepped over a few pieces of paper in the gutter. It was 5 sheets of computer printer paper with someone's story or diary or something typed on it in Times New Roman. Last night it snowed, and with the amount of traffic on the street I found these pages, unfortunately much of what was typed there was smeared from water damage. Therefore, I have only excerpts. I include it for it's apparent musical subject matter.


I have a Performance Diploma in piano from the Royal Conservatory of Music and a Masters in Piano Performance from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. I have worked as the staff pianist at Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan and at the Metropolitan Opera Guild in New York. I have also worked as the accompanist at the prestigious Salzburger Musikschulwerk in Austria. My proudest work has been my interpretations of Eric Satie’s GymnopĂ©dies that I had the honor of performing for the brilliant Reinbert de Leeuw at the Royal Conservatorium in The Hague. My name is Rebecca Thales.

There is nothing I love more than taking a piece of music, pouring over it for weeks, and projecting it into listeners through my own lens. I believe they can sense how the music has imprinted itself on me, how I have reacted to a gentle nuance, or a powerful crescendo. I believe the song changes forever for them, because of how they hear me play it. When I perform, I imagine what the listeners are hearing, and that they are being filled to overflowing with tender, yet overwhelming beauty. This is a deep experience for me and I am nearly overcome by tears every time I play a concert.

There is something extraordinary about musical art. One’s sense of taste, sight and smell involve chemical reactions, however hearing does not. The entire process is mechanical and externally dictated. I press a key on the piano, a hammer strikes a string, and the string vacillates. This persuades the air around it to carry the fluctuations across the room. When I play the piano, I am literally changing the atmosphere with every note. This palpitating ether moves the listener’s eardrums exactly how I want it to, with no modification from any other source, save for the occasional cough or shuffling of feet. My intention is to operate such that listeners are so completely consumed by the atmosphere I create that they do not sense these unwelcome sounds, nor would they willingly create them.

It is because of this that I refuse to record my music. I do not want to manipulate the environment in someone’s apartment or car. And I certainly don’t want to pretend that my work can genuinely affect someone wearing tiny ear bud headphones. Therefore, my income is solely from concert work. [some smudging makes much of the paragraph unreadable] I will only play certain halls, and my choices aren’t based on geography or history, but simply how the sound travels within them.

The only other lengthy excerpt that is readable is as follows:
“I don’t understand,” she said. “I always thought you were rich.”

“Well, you’ve never asked, and I didn’t need to add this to the list of things my sister worries about.

You worry too much. Can you just… forget it? I’ll be fine. I’ll figure something out.”

“You’ve never had a normal job though. What skills do you have?”

“Do you think I haven’t thought about that? I know I haven’t done anything else!”

“Oh Rebecca, why didn’t you just record some CDs while you had the chance? You could have been fine right now.”
Carol never understood the depths my performances took me. I couldn’t tell her that I’d had offers, but turned them down. I didn’t want the spirituality I felt in these concerts to be cheapened by mass producing it on plastic discs in jewel cases. I thought maybe this was the time to finally tell her, since I’ll surely never be approached again by someone wanting to record me.

“You could have reached a lot of people,” she continued.

“Carol, so much of who I am goes into a song I play. Each note I play sends a message, about me, about humanity, about God… about beauty. When I play, I believe people absorb that message into their core and it touches them, and that gives my life… meaning. I’ve been brought to tears because of how an instrumental piece of music explained what gives me interior value.
I plan to include a photo or scan of the things I find, however in this case that was impossible, as the pages were quite dirty and wet. I had to throw them away. Sorry to whoever wrote that. There were a few sentences written on the back of page three. They were written in precice, consistent handwriting. It was actually quite nice, as smudged as it was. What follows is what was written there.
Sometimes my ears ring, but usually only one. I’ll be driving, or checking my email, or whatever, and a high pitched tone will fade in, and completely grasp my attention. It’s weird. I’ll just sit there, and wait for it to go away. Then it fades out, and I forget about it shortly after.
I'll keep posting things if people keep reading!

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