Gift from a broken cellist

Listening to a recording of Janos Starker playing Suite No 1, Prelude of Bach’s Suites for Solo Cello, I remember the time I heard this music played live. The elderly gentleman had chipped a bone in his right elbow a year prior, and it still pained him. But he wanted to play for me, to share his love of music, of Bach, of the cello. His gnarled fingers faltered on the strings and the rhythm of his bow was off, but the sweet intention of his spirit more than made up for that. Next, he played the Courante, my second favorite of the cello suites. Pleased and surprised that I knew it, the old man played with vigor, fingers still faltering and rhythm still broken. When he finished, I gave him my genuinely appreciative smile and enthusiastic solo applause. He smiled shyly, and then offered to give me a precious book from his library. The memory of those sweet minutes comes back to me often and adds to my appreciation of this beautiful and moving music.

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