Sunday, April 18, 2021


Wednesday noon, Campbell Recital Hall, Stanford University,
the piano students of Fred Weldy perform for a scattered audience
of friends, miscellaneous staff and faculty quietly eating their lunches.
One by one, pupils who have been studying since they could walk,
practicing hours a day, for fifteen or twenty years,
perform Beethoven, Chopin, Scriabin, Brahms, Rachmaninov,
blurring one flawless performance into the next.

The final student on the program is sick that day, and absent,
and the professor apologizes. “But we’ve got a few more minutes,” he says.
“Why don’t I just play you a little something I’ve been working on?
This is Aaron Copland’s Three Moods.”

He drops casually onto the bench, as if he’s just invited us into his living room,
but at the first touch of a key, I feel something inside myself,
something that I hadn’t even known was holding itself on edge, relax,
relax in complete surrender to chords that sing out
with such a clarion inevitability that they create their own reality,
a universe predicated on the sheer impossibility of doubt or error,
a universe dedicated to the apotheosis of music and musician,
a universe in which each one of us listening find ourselves,
in this moment, forever, complete in our own perfection.

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