With a whiff of materialistic chagrin I decided to auction off an old Novag Citrine Computer Chess Set, a gift from my mother that has mostly languished on a closet shelf for 7 or 8 years. One bid already came in within a few hours of listing it, so I guess that means the Citrine will finally cease its role as a piece of mental furniture reminding me of the generous gifts my mother got me when she had little money to spare. She was odd about gifts. One year she’d come up with something like the Citrine chess computer, the next year she’d get me a t-shirt, all as her financial situation remaind unchanged.
Any melancholia I have about setting sail the chess set is extinguished by the fact that I do not even like chess any more, and I am not certain I ever enjoyed the game. If the fancy chess set finds a better home then that should be a good thing.
Once in a while, when rummaging through my bazillion photos in search of one that I know exists but which I cannot seem to find, I encounter images of this apartment from 15 years ago. It is something of a metaphor for life to note the obvious, that so little stuff cluttered these rooms back then compared to now. Objects accumulate in physical space just as experiences throw their weight around your mind. I would like to rid this space of many things but as often as I consider it I find that having certain items within arm’s reach is comforting in some proto-hoarding way.
The Lenovo Horizon 2 which sits atop my piano now creates the possibility that I could rid my shelves of substantial amounts of printed piano music, though I don’t think I would ever do that. There is a comfort in the clutter of all those scores I waded through at the piano, some going as far back as grade school. Do my attentions and concentrations still inhabit those pages? If they do it is mostly in spirit, as I rarely scribbled notations or fingerings onto my piano music. I seem to remember Rudolf Serkin commenting that penciled-in fingerings and dynamic emphases such as commonly violate printed scores are frivolous and self-serving. If one wants to learn this music they will do so without need for mnemonics or hand-written reminders. I tend to agree, though the temptation to correct errors in published scores remains a thorn in my brain.
Wandering through the virtually infinite quantity of piano music I’ve discovered or rediscovered the Clementi sonatas, the etudes of Anton Rubinstein, and I’ve established a goal of playing through every single Scarlatti sonata at least once. The measure of Scarlatti’s ceaseless invention is baffling. At some point I would expect to find predictabilities but somehow he manages to surprise at almost every turn. I may never actually make it through all 500+ sonatas but it will be a fun trip however far I get.