A letter from Sonia

In a letter to me, Sonia expressed a wish to share her artistic vision for the upcoming March2nd concert ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ with the Virtuosi audience.  Here it is in its entirety…

Dear Harry,

I was so moved by the incredible warmth, sincerity and support from your Virtuosi audience a few years back that I felt I could address these notes to the March 2 audience in a more personal fashion than I might otherwise risk.  As we discussed, because of my recent accident and surgery, I fell into a long period of emotional despair and silence.  I really did not know whether I would ever play the piano again. So this Virtuosi Concert is even more significant and deeply symbolic for me than all other concerts  in my past. Please share details with your audience as you see fit.

It was important to me that the first selection (Bach/Busoni Chorale: Wachet auf, ruft unds die Stimme) should reflect my past in some way.  I wanted it to signify my embracing of the pure, cosmic gratitude I feel for having survived
through something so challenging to my identity and life’s purpose.  Aptly titled in English, Sleepers Awake or Awake the Voice Commands, it is symbolic for me in more ways than one.  It unites my past with my present and gently breaks the silent cell in which I held myself prisoner.  It instills in me a sense of patience and peaceful reverence both for this art and something higher still and reminds me of the calling and blessings that have been my guide for as long as I can recall, and for which I am most thankful.

The Haydn Sonata (#52, E flat major) represents my hopes for the future.  His music is always filled with such naughtiness, humour, lightness and charm while maintaining that unmistakable Haydn dignity and sense of nobility.  As the saying goes: The Situation in Vienna is hopeless (desperate) but not serious!  I am incredibly grateful to my surgeons for fixing and protecting my ability to play and smile and to Papa Haydn for giving me the best reason to put that smile to good use.

The Chopin Impromptus have been my dearest and nearest companions for over
two decades.  I wanted them present at this gathering because although I have been closely acquainted with them since before I was a teen, there is a different gravity to them now because there is a different gravity within myself.   They are the reflection of the person I am now.  I will be performing #1 and #2.  They are both works of beauty and spontaneity, of course, but it is my way of connecting with my former self without grieving for her loss of innocence from fear and tragedy. In essence, working on and performing these Impromptus are part of my passage to acceptance.

I am replacing the second two Impromptus with Chopin’s Ballade #1 as it probably best represents of my present state of mind.  Though it is filled with grandeur and can look farther than what is immediately before it, there is a sense of doubt and inner turmoil that pervades the entire work.  Most importantly, it is defined by a type of imposing and regal defiance.  It inspires one to stand up, even when it is most difficult and sometimes painful to do so.

Finally, the Schubert Sonata ( G major, op. 78, D.894): Schubert is my saviour.  His music transcends pain with depth and fills my soul with tear-stained empathy.  He alone can banish the darker part of my loneliness – not with overt joy and cheer, but by struggling together with me as I battle my inner demons, and by yearning together with me as I pray for spiritual redemption through his music.   As it is best put forth by Schubert himself:  When I wished to sing of love, it turned to sorrow.  And when I wished to sing of sorrow, it was transformed for me into love.

I am still navigating through new emotional territory every day.  And yet, through all my recent trials, I have also learned that openness is a gift that you give both to others and yourself.  A performance provides an opportunity for complete strangers to embark on an intimate journey together. I shall trust that it cannot be harmful to be truthful, personal and sincere.  As they say: The truth shall set you free.

Thank you all for sharing your eyes and ears with me.  It means more to me than I can say.
~ Sonia