Kat and I recently became grandparents! Our son Bret and Alli adopted newborn Will just a few weeks ago. Yes they are currently overwhelmed, but so are all new parents. Kat told Bret “It’s way too soon to feel tired: you’re going to be tired for the next 20 or so years, and it’s so good that you like surprises. You’re in for a decade or more of roller coaster thrills!”
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was quite the prodigy, but you knew that. His Piano Concerto #11, K413, was Will’s first music. Will heard it not long after sunrise with breakfast his first day home from the hospital. My library seems to have lost #11, but I remember it well. While cooking a batch of oyster and artichoke soup I put on Mozart’s Concerto #9, composed at age 21. My goodness! I have always loved minor chords, and most of the second movement is in C minor (a first for Mozart). Many consider minor keys mournful, but to me they are introspective and sublimely thoughtful.
If you are a 60 Minutes fan odds are you caught their feature a few months back about the next Mozart, Alma Deutscher. She began playing piano and violin at age 3 and wrote the music for an opera at 10 (they didn’t say who wrote the libretto). She is already quite a performer and has been the soloist with several big name orchestras. Alma says music bubbles up in her mind like cool water gurgling from a spring. When it’s particularly good, she sets the melody onto sheet music. To test her composition skills, Scott Pelley drew four notes out a hat, and asked her to compose and play something interesting on her Steinway, using only those four notes. Alma pondered the notes for maybe 45 seconds and then produced a few minutes of piano variations (with tempo changes and dynamic contrasts) that could pass as pretty good Mozart. It brought tears to my eyes: now I have to live to 85 to hear Alma’s early mature compositions. But don’t cry for Alma – Pelley asked if she knew some were already calling her The Next Mozart – she smiled and told him “I’d rather be known as The First Alma.” There goes our next Von Karajan!
https://www.cbsnews.com/videos/alma-deutscher/ (Pelley’s 60 Minutes Feature on Alma)
Back to Will. I am looking forward to doing a Grandpa’s job (spoiling this lad) and to watching his Mom ‘n Dad respond to that long series of breaking pitches he will surely throw. And throw them he Will: Kat and I took many off the chest protector and had to dig more than a few out of the dirt. That’s part of being a kid and a key to parenting.
And so we carry high hopes and middle of the road expectations. Remember, “The world is run by C students*” and “One kid out of ten pays attention in class**. I’ll be happy if they raise a healthy Republican who sees the light in time for his first election, and forever after votes Democratic! (Sorry Buck, that was nasty and I know it. But I gotta be me.)
(* The words of the late, great basketball coach, Al McGuire.)
(** That is a phrase from an old blog written by Big Daddy … which when truncated shall be Will’s paternal grandpa’s nickname, Big.)