rememberance :: dad and music

today marks the two year anniversary of my father's departure from the physical realm. in remembrance, i'd like to credit him with his overwhelming influence on me to channel my emotions into music. it's funny: he always lectured me on not pursuing music further than a hobby, but his actions taught me how to relate to music emotionally. charming hypocrisy. he played piano and accordian by ear. nothing special, but he could spit out a couple old german tunes. he was a romantic, contemplative character, and music was always the trigger in him for a tear.

he'd beg me to play his "3 favorite pieces" on the piano for him, much against my will at the time: beethoven's 5, a brahm's waltz, and pilgrim's chorus. many times he'd sit on his lazyboy, drink a brandy, and tears would come to his eyes. he would thank me from the bottom of his heart in his husky german accented voice. old memories of the war in berlin as a child, his regrets and losses, first failed marriage, and estranged friends would overwhelm him. from these moments, i learned about the emotional power in music.

he had this story he'd tell me about when he was a child and taking piano lessons. he sat at the school teacher's piano and began playing a piece for her from their lessons. when he finished, she said, "that's very nice, siegfried, but it's not what is written in the notes." he always talked about how he had talent but was too emotional to control it or stay within the boundaries of formal musical schooling. i love that story.

he was way behind the technology curve, and i remember one time when he came to my dorm room and i was trying to explain to him napster, and the capability to listen to anything you wanted. he asked me to do a search on marlene dietrich, an old german film star and performer. i pulled up "lili marlene." after it finished download, her voice filled my room, smokey and distant like a black and white postcard. dad sat, and his eye's twinkled with tears. at that moment, he disappeared into some old memory, mysterious to my understanding. he finally woke up out of it. "i haven't heard that song in 20 years."

:: listen to lili marlene

he always grabbed his accordion and played when he was sad. he hugged it for comfort. he played it when he was joyous, sailing into the kitchen like an unwelcome guest. he always played it when he was emotional. i can't help but tip every accordion street player i see. especially if i can get them to play lili marlene.


At 8:48 PM, Anonymous Broken Arrow said...

Bry, you captured your father well, sentimentalities and all.

Very touching. It seems we often appreciate our parents strengths(and are more accepting of their shortcomings)only after their passing. For sure your father would be (is) very proud of you and your accomplishments.



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