“It must be Mozart!”
Adagio. Beautiful cantabile piano solo.Such a harmonious strings background. My fingers glided on the side of my leather crossbody bag. I could feel the strings, the vibrato and it was my first viola orchestra study. I was totally immersed by this 1808 piece. Despite the noise and distraction of the crowds, I could still whisper ‘Emperor Concerto’.
” Am I right? I could tell from the piano..”
200 years later, non-musician still prefer Mozart.The background music was playing Piano Concerto No.5 in Eb major,op.73 by Beethoven, not Mozart. Then again, I just stare at the ground. There was no point in discussing over this matter. Even if I have to correct it, that would required me to explain. Even if I have to explain the different texture and stylistic approach between Mozart and Beethoven, will she understand me? The best answer was to say nothing. I took a deep breath and walked along the busy mall. After all, some statement don’t demand a confirmation neither do I need to offer an affirmation. It was just part of a conversation and the courtesy to pull me closer for a common topic.
” Ahh.. you have the best job aint it? Mozart,passion and loving your job…perfect!’
Dreams don’t always pay rent. Passion don’t always gives you yearly bonuses. Mis-conception of Mozart and reality. I worked hard to earn a short trip nearby. I worked hard to make my passion worth the years of draining myself in teaching every note perfectly. Details, phrasing, character and oh yes I do love my job but it was not always perfect. Mozart struggled too as a child prodigy. I remembered reading his compositions while visioning his death, poverty and unfinished symphony. Wait, at least I’m not in poverty. I can still afford a decent coffee. However, I was always mistaken as enjoying a luxury life of just playing the piano. I clenched my teeth. I muttered not a word.
I just smiled.
“You know what, you should play something for me next time! I request, you play okay?”
I am not a jukebox. People can never differentiate between a classical or jazz, contemporary performer versus a music teachers whom are just not performer in nature. They always expect me to play anything from the movie soundtrack, pop songs, youtube videos or even a hum from their not-so-in-tune melody. I was expected to understand it, perform it and perfect it. Not all of us are talented in perfect pitch and only a minority of us fall in the category of play-by-ear, no scores needed and improvised at any keys. Well, I can play some pieces but not at all by request! Then again, it’s the question of genre which will never be understood by non-musician. I sighed.
I smiled again.
” What’s the name of that famous pianist? ..Lang Lang or something. I think you can be the next Ling Ling!.”
I almost had a heart attack! First of all, I am not a stage pianist. Secondly, I personally don’ t quite like Lang Lang although I would have to agree he is a world class pianist but it’s just a matter of personal preference. Thirdly, I don’t have to be a ‘Ling Ling’. How should I put it? It’s like if you play the cello, people expect you to be the next Yo-Yo Ma. If you mention how tough it was to be a street musician, they will quote from Joshua Bell, the violinist who began poor and ended up with millions of fans. If you don’t talk much, they think you’re emotional and will put you in the “All-musicians-are-emotional” list.
For the first time, I answered.
“I just wanna be Joan.”
There was silence.