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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

My mother loved the piano and this particular piece, Rachmaninoff's Concerto no. 2, was one of her favorites. She tended to play records over obsessively when she was on her way to a psychotic break. A subtle symptom, but very clear to us.

Last night I watched "The Seventh Veil", starring James Mason, Ann Todd, and Herbert Lom. It was fairly melodramatic, with Mason as Todd's guardian, encouraging her and providing training for her to become a concert pianist. She succeeds, and one of the signs of her success is her performance of this work.

While it was being performed in the movie, I listened, with goose bumps pouring down my spine as my nerves thrilled to the music, especially when after the opening chords, the violins join the piano in a rush of dramatic swelling waves. Although it brought back memories of Mom's illness, it also brought back the beauty and power of this musical piece; it is lush and moving.

Interestingly, in the movie, the young woman was being treated for her own mental illness, having to do with an obsession with her hands and their health and fitness for performance. It appeared to me as though Ann Todd were actually playing the piano in the film; whether they used recordings of someone else's performances, I do not know, and it is not revealed in her biography.

1 comment:

Eladrienne Laval said...

What a beautiful piece. "Lush" is a good description of it...