|Duck Pond, Refuge 3, 9 x 12, pastel on BFK|
When my sons were little, my serious piano practice time was right after I put them to bed. On special nights, I would let them call out requests. "Play the Mozart!" And I would play the Sonata or Fantasy, perhaps part of the Concerto. Sometimes I would only hear silence when I finished, meaning that they had fallen asleep. But, sometimes I would hear the sound of their little hands clapping. And then, "Play the Gershwin!" I would play the Preludes.
But, when they called out "Play the Bartok!" I would answer "No, no! I am sorry but your request is denied!" They would giggle and try to cajole me into playing the Bartok, but I knew that if I did, they would jump from their beds and dance to the compelling rhythms.
Bartok was saved for daytime practice only. And when I played, no matter what the boys were doing, they would run to the piano and dance wildly, what we called the "Savage Dance." One of our favorites, the Dance No. 6 in Bulgarian Rhythm, had a time signature of "3+3+2 over 8" which means that every measure is organized in pulses that go like this: 1-2-3,1-2-3,1-2. Say it out loud, without pausing at the commas. Now, say it again with a little emphasis or accent on the "1"s. 1-2-3,1-2-3,1-2. Again and again. Savage Dance.
On days when I am unsettled, when I feel wild inside, on these days I feel the Savage Dance. And I go to the Refuge.