Friday, March 1, 2013

Musician Brains and Birthday Anniversaries

I love music. My Aunt Isabelle put that down to the fact that my mother (her younger sister) played the piano and sang songs for at least thirty minutes a day during my entire pregnancy. There may be something to that. Studies have shown that babies prefer the types of food their mothers ate during gestation. Reportedly I was begging for a piano by age three and by age four, a sturdy Frenchman in Montreal strapped a piano to his back and hauled it up 57 stairs to our apartment. I have had the privilege to become personally acquainted with several individuals who I consider musical outliers. Roger Williams (born Louis Jacob Weertz) was one. I fell in love with his piano arrangement of “Autumn Leaves” when I was ten years old and remember telling my mother how happy I was that he had been born. David H. Hegarty is another (he did not change his name). Composer, arranger, organ-piano artist, I fell in love with his music the first time I heard him play circa 1976. What is it that makes us catch a breath as we listen to the sounds their brains envision, assembled in a way that has never quite been done before? That’s the mystery of the human brain, both from the position of the artist as well as the listener. And both are enriched in differing ways. Roger’s birthday was October 3rd and until his death in 2011 at 87, we exchanged letters and cards. David’s birthday is March 1st. I’m glad he was born, too. Happy Birthday!

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