Why the piece hit my ears with such depth of meaning I do not know and can never know. Our home was often filled with classical music from our mono record player. Ann practiced on the piano. Laurie, the flute. I, still in elementary school, let’s say I was 10, did not yet play any instrument. But when I heard Brahms Quintet in F Minor, it became my piece. Rudolf Serkin and the Budapest String Quartet. It had to be them that do it.
I played it every day. I played it multiple times a day. The music said to me that I had depth because it had depth. It was stirring to my soul. Exciting. Humbling. And like little children who love being read “Goodnight Moon” for the umpteenth time, I was attached to the Quintet by its familiarity, its predictability.
Grandpa Charles was my model for listening to music. His arms would swing and then hit the air with definitive climactic rhythmic smacks. I loved how he loved the music. I would love the music the same way. I would let the music take me in and take me over. I would swing my hands and tighten and release my body. I would do this, lying on our living room’s supremely comfortable, exceedingly long, orange couch, propped up by the matching orange pillows.
My sister Laurie was not amused. She said, “you know, Danny, if you keep listening to that record again and again, pretty soon the needle will scratch its way to the bottom and destroy the record. Forever. And you will never be able to listen to it again.
My Quintet listening slowed down. Considerably. Life presented other joys and the brain would seek preoccupation by all else in creation.
The notion of being able to buy another record somehow never crossed my mind. Her pronouncement scared me away from the record. Could one listen to Brahms Quintet in F Minor only so many times? Were life’s pleasures to be meted out? Rationed like some WWII food stuff?