On Saturday evening I was at the opening of a friend's new Art Gallery in Ancona. There was a duet playing, a young lady flautist and her husband on piano.
Lately I find myself drawn into music. A sort of (almost) total absorption might best describe it, whereas previously in my life I had always felt somehow detached as a mere listener. And I remarked to a friend at the show that in the next life that I will want to be born in this state of immersion. And yesterday evening we went to a concert in our nearby town of Civitanova Alta, the inaugural concert of the season where the English violinist Charlie Siem performed. He is a superb performer; looks a bit like superman.
I was feeling groggy from some sort of flu bug I was fighting and after the concert I suggested to lili that we should take an aperitif in the bar next door and that I needed a whisky (which I never usually drink). And instead of heading for the salone with all the other folk, we decided to stay in the bar area. I noticed a guy sitting behind us and Lili whispered to me that he was a famous composer and then at the other spare table of the three arrived two ladies and a young girl.
|the young pianist|
Then the world shifted. It was as if the little bar became the centre of the Universe.
The young girl brushed past me and sat at the piano and began to play Rachmaninov. I must tell you that I have never heard music performed so beautifully, so perfectly. Then having finished the piece she simply stood up and began to walk back to her mum at the table and I said to her as she passed ' But that was so beautiful and she was almost aplogetic that she might have disturbed us. I asked her to play again and she did for us. And then we were chatting with her, this beautiful little girl, and were joined by the composer who was entranced too and came over to tell her that her playing was beyond perfection and was from another world.
Then our three seperate tables became one held in the beauty of this moment and I said to the composer that I love these rare times where art meets art but that it was just by chance that we were here at all. But he said no, it wasn't chance, it was somehow meant to be; that we had all entered this parallel world opened by this young girl who in her innocence held the golden key to its access.
Wow! I have been teaching and talking about this parallel world of art and creativity for years now but this was the first time I had heard it from the lips of another.
We all left the bar at about the same time, not sharing visiting cards or contact details. It just didn't seem to be at all important. But the thought did occur to me that maybe this planet contains, in some strange way, Paradise itself (a word of ancient Persian origin, which originally only ever meant 'a place of great beauty and happiness'), that it does exist, in this very present moment, running alongside this so called world of normality which we inhabit, and that art, in all its forms, is the magic vehicle which takes us to its gate.