First, I’ll say it before you do: I’m late. Or rather my cello blog is late, and since I’m its author it’s me that’s really late. A very busy week meant many nights out, not enough practice, and a sickeningly familiar feeling of nausea preceding my lesson on Friday. (Indeed, it was a week of firsts: not only the Women to Watch festivities, but also a black tie dinner where we were greeted on arrival by howling protesters in the street outside the venue. Charming.)

Samara was lovely as always about my failings as a student so I felt better, and didn’t make a complete hash of everything as a result. Edith Orton, take note! Unless it’s too late for you, which I think it is and suspect it always was. (If you’re new to this blog, Edith Orton is my old piano teacher. Years of therapy and yet she looms…)

We got through it all with a few rounds of Twinkle Twinkle to close the week, although I still haven’t had the courage to record it for Luke with audioboo. You see, Luke is my four year-old nephew who – despite being the coolest four year-old you’ve ever met – maintains Twinkle Twinkle as his favourite track of all time. And that’s precisely the point: here’s a kid with an intimate knowledge of a seminal work, and let’s face it: kids are terrifyingly honest. So while I’m trying to reconcile myself to my rendition being less than perfect (you know, ‘the perfect being the enemy of the good’, and all that nonsense), in my heart I know it’s still not up to performance standard i.e. the ears of a forthright four year-old.

And then she pulled it straight out of her bag, like a rabbit from a hat. What did Samara have in her hand, you might wonder? Why Dvorak of course, who just happens to be one of my favourite composers. Two lines from the fourth movement of the Dumky piano trio to be exact. And how did I react? How do you think I reacted, for God’s sake? Total paralysis. And then I tried to play it while Samara looked on encouragingly, all the while knowing that my brain had still barely wrapped itself around that fact of playing a melody in the bass clef, not to mention having to create notes myself out of thin air by pressing down thick strings in precisely the right spot. Geez. Throw in a stirring melody I’ve listened to hundreds of times in my life, and the tears started to well up.

I didn’t let Samara see them, of course – far too cool for that (see where Lukie gets it from?) – but I couldn’t help it. Did I dare to play Dvorak, or even try for that matter? I’ve managed to keep it together since then, but just barely. If we meet up in the street, you probably won’t notice anything different about me – unless you say the D-word, of course. Then all bets are off.

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