Monday, May 26, 2008

A Happy Memorial Day

It is a cold and rainy day here in Utah. Not ideal for visiting the gravesites of family, but nonetheless a day for remembering our ancestry. I've been thinking a lot of my paternal grandmother these last several weeks. She past away several years ago. Her name is Belva (Coon) Jones. When I was in highschool I made an album of music to sell so that I could help pay for my missionary service in Japan. When my grandma found out that I had made a recording of piano music, she insisted on buying one. She didn't have a CD player at the time and so I told her I would make a tape recording for her. She asked what the difference was and so I explained to her some of the differences. When I told her I was able to fit two more pieces of music on the CD than on the tape, she insisted that she needed to have the CD. So she went out and purchased a CD player to accompany my CD. What a sweetheart. My sister also came out with an album of her own music shortly thereafter, and to my knowledge, that CD player was only regularly used to play those two CDs.

One of the works on my CD was Franz Liszt's Nocturne in A-flat, Liebestraume, or "Dream of Love." My grandmother would frequently tell me that this was one of her favorite songs. "We used to listen and dance to this during the depression," she would recall, with her eye-lashes batting, her body swaying, and an overly dramatic expression of love on her face. Then, in a whisper, she would lean to me and say, "I want you to play this at my funeral." Year after year, she would remind me of this. The night that she past away my father called to let me know. I sat down at the piano and played through Liszt's Nocturne, over and over again. I guess that was my way of mourning the loss of my grandmother. A few days later, I fulfilled her request and played the Nocturne (Liebestraume) at her funeral service.

So now, several years later, it is memorial day and I'm sitting here thinking of my grandmother. Before I get the day started, I think I'll go sit down and play through "Dream of Love" and reminisce on my heritage. You are welcome to join me in listening to this beautiful Nocturne. I've recorded this piece several times (because I almost always include it in public recitals) and have one of these recording posted on my Lisztonian site. You can click here to visit that page on my Lisztonian site, or you may use the embedded player below.

Have a happy memorial day, and be sure to spend some time remembering the great people in your heritage.