Playing in Public

I just read Ed Spivey Jr.’s piece about his first public recital (“Seriously, Is This What Hell is Like? December 2007), and I have to say it was inspired. I haven’t laughed so much in a very long time, as there isn’t much to laugh about in this world, but he described his hellish ordeal so well I think he had to be moved spiritually to write it.

For one thing, I never saw “Tchyeah” spelled out, and it should become part of any new publication of American slang dictionaries. For another, when he approached the podium and described it this way—“I’m pretty sure I heard someone whisper ‘dead man walking’ as I passed by”—I actually laughed out loud, and I haven’t done that much lately.

So, what I plan to do is try to find Concerto No. 5 by Friedrich Seitz, the demented German composer, and if there are any CDs out there, to buy and play it so I know what trying to play it on the violin is like. And I’d like Ed to know that I suffered a similar fate in my first piano recital, when I had to play some piece from Madam Butterfly, I think, because it’s all a blur. I have rarely touched the keyboard since, but I would like to, probably for the same reason Ed would like to play the violin. I love music.

Edward R. Schreiber

Saugerties, New York

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