Thursday, April 28, 2011

Book #32: Hannah Waters and the daughter of Johann Sebastian Bach

I grew up playing the piano. Every Wednesday afternoon, Mum would pick us up from school, a treat from the bakery would be waiting for us in the car (mmm... cream donuts!) and across town we would go for our half hour piano lesson.

I wasn't a natural, but after 10 years on the piano stool, I'd managed to reach Grade 8 Suzuki (for those to whom that means anything!). And for those of you who know the Suzuki method, you'll no doubt take a trip down memory lane when I mention "Go Tell Aunt Rhody" - it was one of the first songs we'd learn in book two (having graduated from Twinkle Twinkle Little Star).

I no longer play the piano - frustration levels are simply too high when I sit down at the ivory keys and the memory no longer connects to the fingers to make a sound worth listening to  - but at times I do miss it. Piano definitely was, and still is, my instrument of choice.

However, in  Hannah Waters and the daughter of Johann Sebastian Bach, by Barbara Nickel, the instrument of choice is the violin, and the song in question is that of Bach's Concerto for Two Violins. This little book intrigued me when I found it in the thriftstore and I was curious to know how Nickel was going to combine the stories of two girls, three centuries apart. I figured it was either going to work - or it wasn't!

Fortunately, it did. There was no real connection between the two girls: present day high school student Hannah Waters, and Johann Sebastian Bach's own daughter Catharina - in fact they each had a story of their own to tell through the chapters, and both were as enjoyable to read as the other.

I don't think this is a book that's going to stay with me forever, nor would it be first on my list of ones to recommend to friends, but for 14-year-old musicians, I'd say go for it! In between music lessons, practices, and recitals, this would be light relief!

1 comment:

  1. I played the piano when I was younger for about 4 years, but can't play a single thing now. It is frustrating how easily it was to forget.