‘Every Note Played’ Traces ALS Through A Concert Pianist’s Eyes
March 30, 2018 - als
The new book “Every Note Played” tells a illusory story of a unison pianist whose career comes to an remarkable finish when he is diagnosed with a degenerative illness ALS.
Book Excerpt: ‘Every Note Played’
By Lisa Genova
Richard sits down during his piano for a initial time in 3 weeks, given Aug 17, a day his right index finger gave adult a fight, a final of his right-handed fingers to tumble deaf to his wishes. He’d been contrast it daily. On Aug 16, he could daub his right index finger ever so slightly. He clung to this accomplishment, pathetically celebrating this transformation that compulsory large mental and earthy bid and that looked some-more like a handicapped shock than a tap. He placed his whole life’s wish on that finger, that 8 months ago could dance opposite a keys of a many complex, jaunty pieces though blank a beat, distinguished any note with usually a right volume of force.
His index finger, each finger of his right hand, a finely calibrated instrument. If he done a singular mistake while rehearsing, if one of his fingers lacked confidence, strength, or memory and stumbled, he’d stop now and start a square over from a beginning. There was never room for error. No forgive for his fingers.
Eight months ago, his right palm hold 5 of a excellent fingers in a world. Today, his whole right arm and palm are paralyzed. Dead to him, as if they already go to a corpse.
He picks adult his routine palm with his left and places it on a keys, environment his right ride onto center C, pinkie on G. He feels a cold sleekness of a keys, and a hold is sensual, seductive. The keys wish to be caressed, a attribute prepared and accessible to him, though he can’t respond, and this is unexpected a cruelest impulse of his life.
He stares in fear during his passed palm on a pleasing keys. It’s not simply that his palm is quiescent that creates it seem dead. There’s no twist to his fingers. His whole palm is too straight, too flat, abandoned of tone, personality, possibility. It’s atrophied, flaccid, impotent. It appears fake, like a Halloween costume, a Hollywood prop, a polish prosthetic. It can’t go to him.
The atmosphere in a room thickens, too plain to breathe, and he can’t seem to remember how to inhale. A call of panic slips by him. He places his left fingers on a keys, arm extended, wrist up, fingers curled, amatory a keys they touch, and he inhales sharply. He heaves atmosphere by his lungs as if regulating for his life while his unfortunate eyes hunt a keys and his dual hands for what to do. What a ruin can he do?
He starts to play Brahms I, tangible records with usually his left hand, a right-hand records with his mind’s ear. He played this fifty-minute concerto with a Boston Symphony Orchestra during Tanglewood final summer. Eighty-seven pages memorized and played as nearby to soundness as anyone ever has. Some nights a strain is good played and applauded, and other nights, a strain is transcendent. He lives for those conceptual nights.
That dusk on a lawn, a whole rope was some-more than simply a cover rope for Brahms. They were an open conduit, respirating life into a music, and he felt that ecstatic, enterprising tie between his soul, a souls of a other musicians, a souls of a assembly on a lawn, and a essence of a notes. He’s never been means to sufficient report a equation or a knowledge of this alchemy. Using denunciation to communicate a sorcery of Brahms would be like regulating a wooden classroom ruler to magnitude a speed of light.
While personification usually with his left hand, he closes his eyes to remove steer of his determined remains hand, and this cut-and-paste, mind-body opening is gratifying to him for a bit. But afterwards he’s rocking his torso behind and forth, an unshakable robe criticized by many of his teachers as being possibly distracting or indulgent, and incidentally knocks his right palm off a position on a keys. His whole passed arm dangles from his shoulder like a forsaken anchor, complicated and painful, expected dislocated again.
He uses it. The pain in Brahms I, a gravitas, a longing, a loss, a conflict in a inclement initial movement, like walking into war. The vivid solo played by his left hand. The waste memory of a tune personification in his mind. The anguish in his shoulder. The detriment of his right hand.
He dares to consternation what partial of himself he’ll remove next. His tummy and his mind agree.
Your other hand.
He wails aloud and strikes a keys harder with his left palm while he still can. He loses a sound of a tune in his memory and can now hear usually what is real, vibrations constructed by hammers and felt and strings and outspoken cords, and a deficiency of a right-handed records feels like a death, a detriment of loyal love, a sour finish of a relationship, a divorce.
It feels usually like his divorce. He rises his left palm high above a keys and hesitates, interlude a square usually before a crescendo of a initial movement, his heart pulsation in his shoulder and in a remarkable silence, a unprepared song, his interrupted life. He curls his left palm into a fist and pounds a keys as tough as he can as if in a travel quarrel as he weeps, tricked and sad all over again.
Excerpted from a book EVERY NOTE PLAYED by Lisa Genova. Copyright © 2018 by Lisa Genova. Republished with accede of Gallery Books.