Kalamu Chache' also read from her work at yesterday's poetry morning. She is the poet laureate of east Palo Alto and as she introduced herself she walked up and down the city chambers gallery and shook each of our hands. I wasn't sure if I was more anxious of her shaking my hand or of inadvertently not shaking my hand. But shake my hand she did and it was a fine delicate hand that felt smooth and polished at the same time, as if from powder ground from valuable pearls.
It was a cool and dignified hand and I thought of it as I practiced my Fanny Mendelssohn Nocturne. I wanted my touch on the piano to feel like the touch of the poet's hand. And as I played I also thought of some of Chache's words. "Use what you have," she said and I realized that even though Fanny is a Romantic composer there is no reason to play the piece over-dramatically. We here at the Well Tempered manse tend to eschew dramatic surplage. In rethinking the arc of the Nocturne as an adult reflection on a long term marriage or friendship rather than the angst of a teen romance, it felt like I had created a work in which I can breathe more easily.