A birthday gift and an encounter with Chick Corea
I usually don´t share any personal stuff anywhere publicly, but I will make an exception to the rule this time. Recently as I turned 50, my wife made me a very nice gift: a beautiful piece of music for me (and others) to play on the piano, composed by Tobias Gravenhorst, the very gifted cantor and co-organist of the Cathedral of Bremen. For those who like a bit of history: Johannes Brahms conducted the premiere of his Requiem in this church in 1868 himself. But I am getting sidetracked.
You´ll the find the scores below this article.
Not only was I presented the scores of „Two Waltzes for Five“, Tobias also played the piece and improvised on it on my grand piano. You can listen to it on youtube or to another version of it on soundcloud.
I practiced the piece on a nice grand piano in a hotel in the Bavarian Alps and must say the 5/4 beat is quite challenging. But the sequence of chords is beautiful and gives the piece some mystic atmosphere. Anyway being at that hotel, I was looking forward to a solo concert of Chick Corea on our last night there. Many classical and jazz musicians give concerts at that hotel in return for a few free nights there mostly when starting or finishing a concert tour in Germany. I never heard him play live so I was very excited finally to be at one of his concerts.
After playing some very nice pieces – he started with Armando´s Rhumba – he stood up and asked the audience „now who is the lady here in the audience that wrote me this nice letter and asked me to play a piece that she had composed for her husband“? My wife stands up and says „that was me!“. Chick made me stand up as well and says „Well Happy Birthday. I tried to play the piece before thie concert, but it was too difficult for me“. To which I replied „for me as well...!“. He made me come on stage and played me a very nice improvised portrait on the big Yamaha Grand. Now that was something special. For copyright reasons I cannot share that recording with you, but I assure you the improvisation was awesome!
After the piece he invited me to improvise with him but I replied – still baffled – that that would be too embarrassing (for him and the audience)....I thanked him and shook his hand. What a night!