A Little Night Music

Florence, city of art. And of churches. Many, many churches, built by groups long since dissolved, or unable to maintain them, or just no longeral terraced. Some of them have been deconsecrated and some are used now just as special venues for concerts or other performances. One night, as we walked out in search of our usual piazzaorlasagnaorspaghettibolognasedinner, we heard music drifting into the night and as we were taking what we thought was a shortcut (not) we came to the small church from which it emanated. The door was open, allowing the music to escape intp the night. A young Asian woman was playing a solo piano concert. The advertising posters, which we’d seen as we walked, were displayed at the door, and a stack of programs lay on a small table. The woman played with fluidity, passion and skill, pouring out her heart and talent to an entirely empty building. There was no one sitting in the pews; no one, no friends, no family, no music lovers, not a single soul. ( in the interests of accuracy there was a man hovering outside–a teacher perhaps, or a manager?) We paused and listened for a few moments, but had to press on since we had a teenage boy with us, and as we all know, nothing, particularly piano concertos, stands between boy and food.
The kids were sorry for her “because she must have practiced a lot and nobody came to see her”. Yet I wonder– like the proverbial tree in the forest was the music less because it was only heard in passing? The world is full of beauty and blessings constantly being played; perhaps we are seldom fully in the audience, but shouldn’t we stop occasionally,and listen, and be grateful for that creative force that keeps on playing, creating beauty, regardless of how many are in the audience.

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