Wednesday, July 14, 2010

7 year old Diva

I need to thank Rebecca’s very enthusiastic piano teacher for helping her to achieve new seven year old diva heights. I’m wondering if I can blame him for the fact that last week she said to me “You’re not the boss of me.” When at the end of the school year she started writing new endings for all of her pieces he suggested that they try a summer composition project. Her first assignment involved a piece about a pigeon. She has recently completed what she informed me is a “three movement work.” When saying these words she meticulously articulates every syllable in case I don’t know what she’s talking about. Her style seems to involve contrary motion, dramatic glissando’s, accidental pentatonic scales. She also quotes and transposes some phrases from her current favorite song “Legend of the Buffalo.” Dynamic contrast also features prominently. She has fully internalized an exoticism that in kiddie piano books comes out in songs with vaguely Native American titles that feature open fifths and a few accidentals. Dealing with a seven year old composer might be a musicians worst nightmare. Our conversations have gone along the lines of “no mommy that is NOT the sound I want.” (I’m totally sure I played exactly what she wrote) And “Well I wan to write a F# here and a Gb why calling the same note two things is more interesting” “Mommy how come when I play it, it sounds right and when you do it the dynamics are just wrong” “No I don’t need to have five beats in a 5/4 measure it sounds better this way.” I’d say her notation skills need some work.

The diva is also feeling smug because she earned herself six free tickets to a local production of Don Giovanni by modeling for a poster that seems never to have been put up. Note that I earned two free tickets—that’s four less-- for giving a pre concert lecture about Bellini’s La Sonnambula. (This was not a trivial undertaking since I had previously thought nothing at all about the Opera other than that it has some pretty tunes and that I could listen and look at Juan Diego Florez for a long time). In any case we fired her brother from going to the Opera when he failed to make it through even one act of the Sound of Music. We took her with our friends Ann and Gary on Saturday night. Rebecca loved the Opera and was completely mesmerized the whole time. She leaned over during batti batti and say quizzically “why is she saying that” I have to admit that my first paper in college was on representations of women in Don Giovanni and George Bernard Shaw’s Don Juan in Hell. I asked the same question and thought myself very profound. She got really obsessed about how they proved that Don Giovanni actually killed the Commandatore. We were worried that the final scene would frighten her. But she actually giggled. Her read on it was “why does he keep saying no? and it’s kind of funny to have a statue talk” It reminded her of the people in Rome who dress as statues whom she and Jonathan called “statues who move” She also found the drag to hell especially hilarious “he went to hell and took the table cloth with him. Why did he take the table cloth?”

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