You'll have a good, secure life when being alive means more to you than security, love more than money, your freedom more than public or partisan opinion, when the mood of Beethoven's or Bach's music becomes the mood of your whole life … when your thinking is in harmony, and no longer in conflict, with your feelings … when you let yourself be guided by the thoughts of great sages and no longer by the crimes of great warriors … when you pay the men and women who teach your children better than the politicians; when truths inspire you and empty formulas repel you; when you communicate with your fellow workers in foreign countries directly, and no longer through diplomats...
What I have achieved by industry and practice, anyone else with tolerable natural gift and ability can also achieve.
There is much more to playing the clavier than playing written music. Do you realize with accompanying there is often nothing written out but the bass line--the left hand? There might be a few notations as to a suggested harmony, but it is up to me to fill in the music, at the proper volume, style, and harmony for the soloist--often instantly. I've heard it said that Bach questioned wether the soloist or the accompanist deserves the greatest glory.
Others, tiring of the sound of Buxtehude and Bach for hours on end, would complain there was no tune. That was exactly the thing he liked best about a fugue, the fact that it could not be sung. A fugue was not singular, as a melody was, but plural. It was a conversation.
We reviewed the ways we had to bring customers: Method A, flying aerobatics at the edge of town. Method B, the parachute jump. Then we began experimenting with Method C. There is a principle that says if you lay out a lonely solitaire game in the center of the wilderness, someone will soon come along to look over your shoulder and tell you how to play your cards. This was the principle of Method C. We unrolled our sleeping bags and stretched out under the wing, completely uncaring.
But most of the time, with a contented resignation that comes normally to a man only at the end of a long and busy life, he sat before the keyboard and filled the air with his beloved Bach. Perhaps he was deceiving himself, perhaps this was some merciful trick of the mind but now it seemed to Jan that this what he had always wished to do. His secret ambition had at last dared to emerge into the full light of consciousness. Jan had always been a good pianist, and now he was the finest in the world.