A Ballade of Lot Music

A Ballade of Lot Music

 Introduction. Adagio in B Minor.

When aching sorrow filled my heart with gloom

I went to where broad fields of sunflowers bloom,

Where hope of better prospects quickly grew

At Anne Brain’s piano course at Pech Chagut.

Exposition. Allegretto in D major.

Our tutor tells us how we can improve,

How to connect and make the music move;

To make the most of every practice time.

Parnassus is a high mountain to climb!

Some simple guidance takes us back to school.

‘With level arms, sit forward on the stool.

‘Before you start set up a steady beat,

‘And be aware of where you place your feet.’

We must not use the pedal as a crutch.

(Rachmaninoff preferred a cleaner touch).

Advice pours forth, we scribble down our notes,

And each will keep a favourite choice of quotes.

‘Nourish this quaver, keep the tonic light,

‘And here an accent on the third beat’s right.

‘From a low wrist play deep into the key.

‘Rotate the forearm, let the thumb stay free.’

When to change finger, when delay a chord

-It’s fascinating stuff, we’re never bored.

And one day we were given priceless words

On practising Chopin’s Etude in thirds.

Intermezzo. Andante in A major

When the class ends, alluring kitchen smells

Call us to eat, like a magician’s spells.

With greedy hands we pile our plates and munch

Our way through a delicious, healthy lunch.

After the meal some ride their bikes, or walk,

Or swim, or even just relax and talk,

But most put what they newly understand

To work at once, and further train their hand.

Allegro vinoso in C sharp major

At six o’clock the wine begins to flow.

The glasses drained, to the salon we go

Where every evening one of us will play

And show us what their pieces can convey.

The day’s tasks done, we all go out to dine,

And sit at outdoor tables when it’s fine.

The occasion kicks off with a glass of Kir.

(No one declines and asks instead for beer).

Our taste buds quicken as the food is due.

The starter’s salad with some cabecou.

Our appetites well whetted, next we tuck

Into a rich but crisp confit of duck.

Presto in D major, fortissimo

 Back at the house, although the hour is late,

Out come the scores for four hands, six or eight.

The party’s hot, but there’s an end to play

So we can carry on the same next day.


It seems to end as soon as it’s begun.

Oh how I miss the music and the fun!

My life would be unutterably drear

Without the thought of coming back next year.

                                                                                    Jacobus, July 2011