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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Les Miserables and Left Hands

Last night I was in a rehearsal for an upcoming pops-type concert featuring choirs and soloists in mostly broadway numbers. Midway through the folder of music was One Day More from Les Miserables. When I was in high school, I loved Les Miserables. I saved my precious pennies and bought myself the three-disc complete recording, and I knew every single word to every single song backwards and forwards! It's been, let's see, seven years since I graduated from high school (!!), and at least as long since I've listened to those CD's... but as I played that piece last night, every word came to mind like I had listened to it yesterday. Isn't it amazing how the human brain can store information like that, dormant for years, and then bring it back? In fact, as a kid I could memorize entire movie scripts by watching a film just once or twice. Sometimes I wonder how much of my brain space is wasted today because of that charming habit...

More interesting still, a woman from the second violin section approached me during a break in the rehearsal last night and asked where I went to school. I answered, and she replied, "Of course! I knew it! You studied with J____ B_____; I could tell the minute I saw your left hand, just by watching you play. He is the most incredible violinist. I went to New England Conservatory, but he wasn't my teacher. But I still go to all his recitals to this day. You play like a student of his!"

Pretty interesting, huh?


  1. It is amazing what the brain can store, isn't it. I used to listen to Les Miz over and over and over again starting in 8th grade and I have the whole thing memorized too. I have a number of other musicals either memorized entirely or almost entirely. I remember riding my bike across town to my middle school (about a 40 min. trip) and trying to see how far into Les Miz I could get, or trying to start at different points and then going from there. Just reading your post brought into my mind the opening music! *grin*

  2. Can you still recite The Princess Bride? :)

    By the way, your birthday present is in the mail. I shipped it early because it is a handmade item (not by me) and it was the only one available, so I bought it before someone else could! You can decide whether to save it till the tenth or open it right away. Whichever you please. :)

  3. I loved Les Mis, too! (Though I went with an abridged version because I liked the singers better, was scared off by the price of the full recording, and could rent it from the library whenever I wanted to.) But my true love was Phantom of the Opera. I remember having a friend over and splitting up different parts to sing along to the entire soundtrack.

  4. Oh, Les Mis! That takes me back. Sunset Blvd. is good, and Phantom is wonderful, but Les Mis... sigh. Soooo good. I get shivers up my spine thinking of Javert crying out, "There is no way to go on!" and jumping off the bridge (and it looks so real when they fly it out and he flails his arms!). And when the Bishop tells Jean Valjean, "Would you leave the best behind?" referring to the candlesticks. So powerful.

    Okay, who was your favorite? Cosette, or Eponine? :)