by Carol Montparker
The Blue Piano and Other Stories
Amadeus Press, February, 2004.
Hardcover, 253 pages.
Reading The Blue Piano is like having lunch with a special musical friend. The stories are short, anecdotal, and thoroughly enjoyable. For people who incorporate listening, playing and sharing the world of classical music with friends there is a special, perhaps subconscious sense of belonging to the same community. Carol Montparker is a part of that world, someone who gave up a career as a concert pianist, which makes her the perfect spokesperson for lovers of classical music.
The story about the hideous blue piano that the author refused to utilize during one of her concerts at Steinway Hall perfectly demonstrates the basic personality of a lover of classical music. Certain musical experiences cannot be evoked when played on a gaudy instrument. Somehow nothing is quite right. There are all kinds of music, and each kind seems to demand a particular instrument and a particular setting to be fully enjoyed by both listener and artist. Ms. Montparker's dilemma is understandable: her wish not to offend the revered firm that makes the favorite instruments of pianists is at war with her knowledge of the absolute absurdity of playing a classical program on such a ludicrous instrument. The reader can empathize completely.
One of the special delights of The Blue Piano is that it allows the reader to meet and understand people who must have classical music in their lives . Few of them are wealthy. The story , "Rubenstein, Michelangelo and Ernest" recounts the frustrations of facing the sartorial difficulties of obtaining and maintaining a rarely-used tuxedo. The humor of the predicament will no doubt trigger similar stories in the minds of readers.
This delightful short story collection entertains and delights in a unique way. Without pretension, the stories deal with the importance of music in life while also recounting the delights of gardening, friendship and the general human experience in all its richness. It is a collection that celebrates life and with its many emotions in every story. Ms. Montparker's easy and unpretentious style takes us through a life lived with music and affection.
--Sarah Reaves White
The Blue Piano and Other Stories is available for purchase on Amazon.com
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This review was published in the March-April, 2004 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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