Sunday, March 24, 2013

Emile Pandolfi

(A portion of this post was written in 2001 -- now adapted to fit 2013)

Everybody’s been asked that question – would you rather be blind or deaf.  What an awful choice.  You don’t want to be either of course. 

It’s Sunday afternoon, I'm listening to some of my Cloud piano music as I'm I’m combing my thinning hair, and the question runs through my mind. I look at my hair, a color I hate because of its massive amount of gray which can't be dyed a pretty shade because no matter the choice the awful gray turns it yucky red  --and I realize – blind, of course.  I wouldn’t care how the hair looked, but the music . . .how can you live your life WITHout music?

One of my favorite recording artists is Emile Pandolfi.  He’s the one making very huge piano glissandos right now on my Cloud network.  I have every one of his CD’s.  He’s an interesting artist, apart from the sound he produces on his piano.  He struggled to earn his living in New York as an accompanist.  He’s worked with some of the best.  Eventually though, he tired of the struggle.  He wanted to go home to one of the Carolina’s and wed his sweetheart and have babies.  His plan, unique at the time, was to start making his own CD’s and he followed his dream.  He got married.  He had a baby.  He worked on his technique and sound and he made a CD.  He marketed the disk to specialty stores – you know, those really upscale linen stores and stationary shops.  I heard him first as I shopped for very tony Valentine Day cards in the most upscale shopping area of our city.  The sound made me stop in my tracks, stand stock still, and listen.  Then I did something I’d usually never think of doing – I asked who the artist was they were piping through the store.  I bought 5 Valentines and a CD.  Since then, I’ve worked hard to acquire every one of his albums.  Initially I had to send off to the East Coast with my check (no credit cards accepted) to get them.  Enough folks asked at Border’s and Barnes and Nobles though, and eventually, Pandolfi became mainstream – and started the trend for independent artists to succeed without major record contracts.  Pandolfi doesn’t tour the Mid-West.  He stays mainly on the East Coast, darn it.  I’d go to one of his concerts in a heartbeat.  Still, I’ve got ears – and I can blast his sound throughout my life when the need arises.  

For me, the really grand moments in life are audible.  The visual is important.  I love color.  But my soul would shrivel without sound.  Do you suppose that has bearing on my choice of husbands?  



Donna said...

If I had to choose, I would choose deafness over blindness because you can still live a fairly normal life if you are deaf (my poor husband is getting more hard of hearing every day, it scares me). I think if I were deaf I would play songs in my head, and sing them, from memory. I do that anyway. It wouldn't be the same, of course, but there is a lot of music in my head.

snugpug said...

I've never been asked actually, but I'm with Donna above. You can pretty much live "normally" if you couldn't hear than if you couldn't see.

And arguably, being deaf doesn't mean you can't hear music. Well you can't listen to a concert but you can hear music in your head. In primary school, I shocked a music teacher when I said I didn't know what was the big deal about Beethoven being deaf. I wasn't dissing his genius -- he was, still is, one of my favourite composers -- but what I didn't know how to express as a child then, was that he certainly heard music even if his eardrums didn't work.

Do you remember long ago Emily made cassette recordings of Will singing Wolfie's Song? The cassette has been long lost in our moves, and in any case, with all the music coming in MP3s and iPods, I haven't even got anything that can play a cassette tape anymore. But I still hear that song in my head. Like I hear Alfie Boe now, even without plugging in the iPod. But then of course, I heard Alfie Boe once and it never left my head. It would be a different story if I'd never been able to hear him.

Margaret said...

I would hate either one, but would rather be deaf. Talk about awful though. I love music!