There is this Dark Academia trend fueled by people who like Harry Potter and libraries. You imagine yourself back in an earlier era, lost among old books and music and poetry. I have never read any Harry Potter or seen any of the movies. However this is a trend I love. And yesterday while I was playing the piano I began thinking about how Dark Academia my life is.
I did not plan it! It just worked out like that.
Just looking around my living room absolutely killed me when I thought about it.
Steinway grand piano from 1905.
Photo of the Van Cliburn Competition jury from 1963. Next to busts of Chopin and Beethoven.
Tapestry from my friend Brenda, as seen from the piano.
Portrait of Franz Schubert, a gift from my friend Peter.
That is the ultimate Dark Academia portrait if you ask me.
And speaking of the ultimate, how about this...
This was the book I was playing out of when these thoughts came into my head. It is Mendelssohn's "Songs Without Words."
It is copyright God knows what year. I mean I would have to go down and check. However it is the 19th century. I know that because the book has an inscription. A father inscribed it to his daughter in 1898. She was at the Richmond Preparatory Academy in Virginia.
There is writing throughout the book where someone, it appears to be the father, went through and wrote the titles to the various Songs Without Words.
I acquired this book at some sale somewhere a few years ago. Perhaps I should not be playing out of it because I have my own copy of the Songs Without Words, as every pianist should. I worry that I will hurt the binding or the pages. However you know what, I think this father and daughter would be happy that the book is being played out of, as it was once upon a time. I always get a beautiful feeling when I sit down of an evening, and open it, and start to play.
One of the WNED-FM hosts, I think it was Stratton Rawson, said one night that in the Victorian era there was always a piano book in every house and it was the Songs Without Words. And every pianist played them.
So there I am, smack in the middle of the Victorian era. Wearing my long dresses, playing my Victorian-era copy of Mendelssohn's Songs without Words. This was the first music by the way that I ever played on this beautiful old Steinway, back when I bought it. I think of that when I play it.
I never thought of it being Dark Academia.
I always just thought it enchanting!
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