December 2, 2011

The Madeleine Episode

Posted in Uncategorized at 15:32 by Miracle

Two weeks before my solo recital, I risked a couple of days away from classical music and the piano just to be in Manila to watch a Jason Mraz concert and The Sound of Music production at Resorts World. I came back from the trip rejuvenated, inspired, and feeling 10 years younger. Now, a week before my first experience as a piano soloist in a concert with an orchestra and at the same time participating in the Violin II section with the same orchestra, and in addition a performance exam in two weeks, I sacrificed practice time to be in the kitchen so I could bake those madeleines I have been longing to make ever since I read Proust’s In Search of Lost Time… and I don’t regret it either. By doing so, I have not lost time, but regained it instead. It was one way of having a “literary” experience outside book-covers. As an amateur classical musician – and even a currently mediocre one, I am still realizing the importance of discipline and habit all the more. But having read Proust in the past, I have learned that habit also has its “deadening effects”, and once in a while, it is beautiful, exciting, and wonderful to break away from our predictable routines in order to surprise ourselves and live some more.

Madeleines, anyone? =)

“…my mother, seeing that I was cold, offered me some tea, a thing I did not ordinarily take. I declined at first, and then, for no particular reason, changed my mind. She sent for one of those squat, plump little cakes called “petites madeleines,” which look as though they had been moulded in the fluted valve of a scallop shell. And soon, mechanically, dispirited after a dreary day with the prospect of a depressing morrow, I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked a morsel of the cake. No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, something isolated, detached, with no suggestion of its origin. And at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory – this new sensation having had on me the effect which love has of filling me with a precious essence; or rather this essence was not in me it was me. I had ceased now to feel mediocre, contingent, mortal. Whence could it have come to me, this all-powerful joy? I sensed that it was connected with the taste of the tea and the cake, but that it infinitely transcended those savours, could, no, indeed, be of the same nature. Whence did it come? What did it mean? How could I seize and apprehend it?” (From In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust)

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