Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Savage Dance

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.

10 comments:

SamArtDog said...

I'm very fond of these paintings with the bold gold. This one with the deep orange burn is so dramatic.

Lucky lucky boys!

Katherine van Schoonhoven said...

Thanks, Sam. Simple shapes and bold colors. I like them, too.

Joni James said...

Great post! I never had the skills to play a musical instrument like a piano, but I do remember singing silly songs to my kids loud enough so that they could hear me down the hallway. What sweet memories!!

Joni James said...

And I can see why your boys would get wound up with that song!! LOL We use to dance a lot when my dad played "Freight Train Blues."

William Cook said...

THANK YOU FOR REMINDING ME OF BARTOK. I never got enough Bartok. Him and Ives. Time to liven up the place. Debussy take a rest. Ease up Maurice. How did you get in there, Redbone? Freight Train Blues? Hang on for a second, Bella.

Clear off all the tables, this joint is jumpin. That yellow really is loud. in a good way, of course.

\\///\

Angie said...

Very blessed sons, indeed! And, now that you mention it - Play the Bartok - again! Hugs

Katherine van Schoonhoven said...

Joni -- I think that songs make for memories, no matter what kind of songs. Glad that you had the silly songs thing with your kids! Ooh! Your dad had you burning off some of that extra kid energy with the blues!

Katherine van Schoonhoven said...

Hi William. You forgot Bartok?! But you've remembered him again and if he's playing in the studio, something wild will happen. I'm sure of it! I never thought of the piano as a percussive instrument until I heard the Bartok piano concerti!

Katherine van Schoonhoven said...

Hi Angie! I've let it all slide over the years, so I don't have the facility to play the Bartok well right now. But, I'll get there! Thanks for the comment. For you, I'll play the Brahms.

Celeste Bergin said...

Great story about the "youngsters" and your piano concerts. The notan abstracted landscapes are successful!