Memoir Music

Memoir Music

I truly heard and shared its music

Music plays an important part in Julie’s story. It is indeed a golden thread which has run right through her life, marking both fractures and the scars of healing.
Every night, throughout my childhood, while I lay in bed in the room above our lounge, Dad would sit down at the upright piano bought with his naval war gratuity, and play me to sleep. Gershwin and Cole-Porter numbers, Rachmaninov, Debussy, all self-taught.1The Bombshell

Decorative calligraphic letter J on top of an original piano score for 'La Fille aux Cheveux de Lin' by Debussy

Was it nature, or nurture? A bit of both, or neither? I had often pondered this, especially at the times when Mum sat listening to me playing the piano, just as she’d listened to Dad all those years before. How she’d loved it, she could even name all the different styles and composers. She hadn’t learned to play herself, just imbibed music as one might a particularly good vintage of wine.2The Search Begins
[My dad] marching up a garden path demanding to know the name of a piece of piano music he’d heard each day when coming home from school. Debussy’s ‘La fille aux cheveux de Lin’. He’d taught himself from scratch, could play it well, I’d heard it many times, I told Aunt May. Crossing out ‘de lin’ in pencil, and replacing it with “d’or” – the girl with the golden hair.10Mr. McDonald

Sheet music of Mendelssohn's ‘Song Without Words’, overlaid with calligraphic letter "w"

She would never get to hear the strains of Mendelssohn’s ‘Song Without Words’. It is one of many such works, with flowing patterns, and moments of restlessness and tension, followed by temporary repose. It carries the echoes of a tormented, humoured child, gives vent to troubled discovery.30Song Without Words
It was in these moments, in the first shocking stages of my search into the past, that my fingers sought out the notes, absorbed by repetition into the muscular memory, reaching to the very depths of my anatomy, and to my soul. Discovered just fleetingly at first, they defied the name labels bestowed upon me, transmuted them into an identity that lies beyond the personality.30Song Without Words

Music recordings performed by Daniel Fajardo: pianist, teacher and composer, Spain.

Memory is cellular. It lives forever in body and soul, and even in the place where it happened the feeling lingers, eternally held in the sensitive receptors of stone, wood and fabric. It has a secret song which all of us can learn to hear.

Tell the world...