Yesterday afternoon, I sat down in Toronto’s Koerner Hall, anticipating the keystrokes of a virtuoso pianist – Sir Andras Schiff. Beside me sat a young Asian woman and we got talking. She’s a student at the Glenn Gould School of classical music performance. We chatted about the beauty of Koerner Hall, especially the violin-like wooden sculpture that adorned the ceiling. It reminded me of waves of energy, and I wondered if the love and peace I felt coming off me was anything like that.
I told Linda about my meditation retreat and I do believe she was enthralled. “I’ve wanted to do something like that.” She was one of very few people in such conversations that didn’t say “Oh, I could never do that.” I mentioned the Buddha’s instruction “What you contemplate, you become.” She seemed to see the wisdom of it right away. Before Andras took the stage, we discussed more of life’s ups and downs. It was a lovely time.
Sir Andras lived up to his billing, with exquisite runs, explosive passages and tender melodies. I closed my eyes and a quiet crept over me. Soon I was deep in meditation as his fingers created the magic. I opened my eyes a few times, occasionally to see Linda leaning way forward, head down. I wondered if I had something to do with that.
At the break, neither of us wanted to go anywhere. We talked of love and peace. Linda told me she was a pianist and was presenting a recital in the evening, in another hall at the Royal Conservatory. I said I would come. She smiled. “But it won’t be as good as this.” “Let’s try that again.” I said I would come. “Thank you.”
And so the evening. Mazzoleni Hall was an intimate yellow brick and wood enclave. Linda strolled onstage wearing a gorgeous cream-coloured gown. Sadly, the audience was nine.
Linda launched into Haydn with a sometimes flurry and an often caress. Her face was with the music … a passionate “Oh!” and then a sweet “Ahh.” I was entranced. She may be decades younger that Mr. Schiff but the heart was just as open. Chopin, Bach, Brahms, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky were cheering her brilliance for the rest of the evening.
I gave Linda a standing O, accompanied by a “Bravo!” So richly deserved.
At the entrance to the hall, I said, “Thank you, Linda.” We hugged. We bowed. “It was lovely.” “Thank you so much for coming.”
And I was gone into the night.