Jewish Book: Saving Myself, a Los Angeles Childhood
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Jour 18 - A Los Angeles Childhood - Chopin au Jardin de Luxembourg Part II
Monday, 04 July 2011 16:40

While I am in the Gardens I start to hear Queen Jeanne's voice saying, "So you're leaving me." "Yes," I tell her, "For the quiet of the high desert, the country. I go back to the moody skies. We have these all the time." "Will you remember me? Truly?" she wants to know.Yes, most assuredly, and the music, always music” I answer. "Is that what all the notes are in your sketches?" she asks me. "Yes" I answer. "A common language, universal and true."

I close my eyes. I hear the sound of birds, two conversations. Next to me on the left, two women chat away. I can tell they move their hands although I continue to see with eyes closed. The other was a sound check. It is now 4:50 p.m. I have been here two hours. They are finally tuning the piano.

The songs being performed were written when Chopin was more mature. This is the 200th anniversary of his birth. The three performing are Iwona Tober, soprano, Leszek Swidzinski, tenor, and Pawet Skrypek, piano.

As the soprano sings there is a bird trilling as if in response. It continues chirping. I wish I could see it in the large tree. The music is a call and response between soprano and tenor, their voices an octave apart. The piano echoes.

It is hard to judge the number of people as we form an arc around the bandstand, people also sitting on the stairs, which are in three places in the round, the music moving, notes dancing in air. We are very young, very old. The people sitting next to me are from the south of France, retired. They lived in Paris 1965 to 1999 and come back every summer on holiday. They miss the Gardens and these concerts.

Chopin like I've never heard him before. I will look up the meaning of the chants. I get a sense of romance, of the passion, just images, six concerts en plein air du Dimanche (Sunday) afternoons Dans le cadre de presidence polonaise de L'union Europeene!

And now I'm back at Yaki for some, quelle surprise—sushi to enjoy my final dinner in Paris until next June.  

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