Friday, September 24, 2010

Medical Treatment for a Musical Composition - Really!

The following is one of my more rather strange and totally unpredicted experiences in music:
A respected physician who at one time treated me, with a deep friendship being the result, is as well a highly accomplished pianist, music being second only to his first calling.
Shortly after 9/11 in 2001, he contacted me and asked, in recognition of the tragedy of the Twin Towers in New York, that I consider writing a piano transcription of Irving Berlin's "God Bless America" as a musical retort to and recognition of the unspeakable event which had taken place.
Well, I thought about it, and decided to write a statement for piano constructed around one of Berlin's well-known tunes.
I discovered that in order to promulgate a sense of national anger as a reaction to that defining day, I found myself writing a piece in the Horowitzian style, with all kinds of bells and whistles swirling around the melody and most assuredly enhancing the sense of vituperation I had felt about that event.
I had never attempted a transcription based upon a pop tune before, and so some trepidation crept into my consciousness as I wrote the piece.
However, it turned out well enough for me to decide to learn this piece and include it in future recitals.
Well, after finishing it, I sent the transcription off to my doctor friend, and thought that the experience was over.
To my surprise, about three weeks after my sending the music, a CD appeared in the mail, with no message of any kind. Curious of course, I went to my CD player, and listened to a perfect performance of the transcription by this most gifted physician - no note, no word of any kind, no label on the disc. The only way I could know that the doctor had indeed recorded it was by way of the return address on the package he had sent.
And so, I would ask of you a better example of top-rate medical attention given to a piece of music?

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