In my Dad’s last months of life, struggling to recover from a heart operation at 89 years old and then finally giving up, our visits consisted of conversation (he was lucid to the end), some Solitaire games, watching old movies— and listening to music. I played various CD’s on the boom box in his room and he began to request some particular pieces. He especially loved Beethoven symphonies. So I bought a box set and listen we did to our favorites.
Today, on the occasion of his birthday, I decided to listen to some again, on his behalf. I started with the 3rd, one that I listened to often as a kid and all these years later, can still anticipate every note. The CD then went on to Symphony No. 4 and that’s when it struck me (this is the True Confession part): Though I can recognize every note of the 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7thand 9th, I don’t know a single note of the 1st, 2nd, 4thor 8th. And I mean not a single note.
I feel a retirement project coming up.