Sunday, 5 May 2013

The Albert Frost/Mozart Analogy

The Albert Frost/Mozart Analogy
3 May 2013

I know I’ve always had a bit of a flair for the dramatics.  Added to that, I have a vivid and fertile imagination, that usually doesn’t need much provocation, to spring forth something completely and utterly ridiculous.

And so, as a youngster, I saw myself in the same tragic light as poor Mozart’s sister.  The dear.

Because you see, this is the thing.  Mozart’s sister, was the family musical genius.  Ever so darling.  Ever so bright.  Ever so talented. 

Until her evil twerp of a brother, Wolfgang, one day decided to sit down and pick out a tune on the old harpsichord.  And well, that was that.  She got usurped.

Because when I was still a chillun, I was the musical child in the home of Frost.  I took piano lessons from the age of six and I absolutely loved it.  I did piano right through my Primary and High School careers.  Furthermore, I loved singing and always did the whole choir thing too.  I even gave the clarinet a bit of a bash.  Yip, I was the musical child.  It was where I got to shine.

Until I was the ripe old age of seventeen, and my thirteen year old brother, the evil twerp, Albert, picked up a guitar one day.  And that was that.  I got usurped.

He was simply amazing!!!  Incredible!  And the amount of raw talent that had just been lying there latent and dormant for all of those years, got awoken.  He just took to it with a natural flair that was phenomenal.  Even more astounding is the fact that he never received a single lesson in his life.  All he had going for him was a burning passion and desire to succeed and to master this instrument.  And added to that, his lifelong exposure to music and the arts.  He practiced and he practiced and he practiced some more.  Nobody nagged him.  Nobody pushed him.  Nobody forced him.  He made a decision and gave it his all.

And therein lies the difference.  I too practiced and practiced and practiced some more.  But, though I was good-ish, I didn’t have the same amount of natural talent.  And given enough practice and dedication, I do believe that  most people can learn to play an instrument really well.  Fair enough, I did have a musical ear and a certain amount of talent, but not on the same scale.  Furthermore, I somehow wasn’t all that good at improvisation as Albert was.  I couldn’t simply listen to a song and then play it on my own.  I was classically trained and therefore, I relied on sheet music.  Oh given enough time and perseverance, I could eventually figure out a song on my own.  But not with the same amount of excellence and ease.  And let’s not forget that pianos are not all that transportable.  Nor did I ever take to a keyboard.

But Albert?  He was a natural and made it all look so easy.  Yes, he practiced damn hard, but he enjoyed it too.  I remember going away for a weekend and all five of us plus a guitar being squished in a car.  Singing songs while Albert played the entire journey.  Keeping us entertained.  A car trip somehow never seemed long enough that way.  No questions of “are we nearly there yet”?  The actual journey was just too much fun.

And so, in that light, I always saw my brother as a wee bit of a Mozart.  The little kid coming from the back, to rise to the top.  Excelling and delighting all in his way.  Beautifying our world with music and melodies.  A genius in his field and rightly so.  I couldn’t be prouder of him if I tried.  And somehow I’ve never been jealous of him either.  We chose different paths and both of us are happy with our lives.  I rejoice in his brilliance and his talent as it has brought us all so much joy.

And as for me?  I still play the piano, every so often.  Though truth be told, not often enough.  I delight in Amber’s plonking on the piano too.  We even enjoy doing the odd little duet.

And so perhaps, even more than the fact that I see a parallel between Albert and Mozart, I see a parallel between Mozart’s sister and me.  We both chose family, home and hearth.  She had three children of her own and married a widower who had five.

Clearly I have some catching up to do…..

My very, very special brother.  A guy I simply call, Dude.

The maestro at work

Creating magic

Al doing his thing
(Above professional pics courtesy of Rob Piper Photography, Moonbeaming and Sandra Fenner - Thanx!)

Mozart, his sister and their Dad.  Clearly the parallels between me and Mozart's sister, does not just run to our musical brothers - occasionally, we both have really bad-hair-days.  And on this pic, hers is a whopper.

Come to think of it, Mozart's hair is not all that great either.

Young brother and sister - sweet!  Though in our case, there was a little sister too.  Have I told you the story yet, about how she ended up being better at dancing than me?  Perhaps the arts and I were just not meant to be.....

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