The music that led me to now....

I’ve written earlier about my late start to playing piano and how influenced I was by the music from West Side Story, written by Sondheim & Bernstein. However, at this time of year, another other film is shown that also influenced me; King of Kings, 1961, directed by Nicholas Ray with Jeffrey Hunter cast as Jesus Christ. I was mesmerized by his performance and his penetrating blue eyes, but more than that the film's music score, composed by Miklós Rózsa, touched my soul. No surprise that it was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score.

It was the first time that I felt the pure emotional impact of an 8 bar phrase. It was a real lesson in learning the significance and power of a theme. Every time Jesus appeared, even his shadow, I heard His theme. I teared up every time, so naturally I ran right out and bought the music. I had just gotten my piano from my Aunt and started piano lessons. The song, once again, was beyond my skill, but I had to play it, break it down and sure enough, within a few weeks I could sit at the piano and play that 8-bar phrase ad nauseum. Fortunately, my parents didn’t stop me, but my brothers and sisters surely tried.


There was another movie theme that I was compelled to learn from the movie of the same name called April Love, a 1957 movie directed by Henry Levin. starring Pat Boone and Shirley Jones. That song drove me nuts. Again, I bought it and struggled through it. It was a complex song, both melodically, structurally and chords, and I was half-way through the red John Thompson Book I, so again, way beyond my skill set. But you know, when I fall in love with a song, I will sit there and work at it for as long as it takes until it comes out of my body, my hands. I wanted to feel that flow.

 

So, those two songs also were incredibly motivating in my choice of becoming a musician, but more than that, the focus, discipline, joy of working for something and getting it done, well there’s no comparison to the fulfillment.

There have been other songs that have caught my ear that I was affected in the same way, but as I prepare for the recording of my next CD, I’m thrilled to say that some of my own music has that effect on me as well.

And that… is pure joy, completing the circle.