May 23, 2009
This is Ma and Step-Monster Moe.
They met 27 years ago while playing their respective parts in the Utah Valley Symphony. Moe played the seductive and very macho Viola. Ma played the effervescent and feminine violin. Moe drove a convertible MG Midget, wore designer jeans and spiffy leather jackets. Ma had a chattering Renault P.O.S. with a lime-green radioactive powdercoat. Moe had a thing for Mahler, Ma was fond of Mozart. They both adored Dvořák.
Ma and Moe were married 12 days after they met. Just kidding. It was 13. (Okay, kidding again. Not 13 but it was quick.)
Having been graced with luck (and possibly some other stuff), Moe was childless. On the other hand, Moe was handed some misfortune and fell in love with a woman who still had two kids at home. Girls. One on the cusp of puberty, the other pleading desperately for the lead in The Marriage of Figaro.
Moe has a secret weapon. Moe composes music. Moe also rearranges music, including string-quartet ensembles of the classics like, Love Me Do, When I'm 64 and In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.
There are many benefits of being raised in a family of music. One such benefit is you're forced to play a musical instrument. And by forced, I mean you're made to practice [the piano], made to perform [the piano], made to take [piano] lessons, and made to hear the droning of "When I was your age, I'd be in practicing the violin while my friends were off making-out with their boyfriends." Sounds rough, doesn't it? All that Making with no Out? Note, however, that I am unduly grateful for Ma's gun-point musical infliction.
Except when it comes to performance time.
The Older Bro has a son who decided to go on a Mission. We'll call him RabidMissionary. Last time the Older Bro had a son go on a mission, Ma played violin and Little Sister whipped out her richly polished opera. They blew away the congregation with their professional offering, while my humble little phalanges were barely able to supplement. With RabidMissionary embarking on the Mish, there would be a repeat performance - only this time with a brand-spanking new song.
This new song was Via Dolorosa, named after the street in which Christ walked to his crucifixion. I-tunes has 104 different versions - possibly 109 by now - 10 of which reek of head-thrashing irreverence. This is The Savior we're talking about folks. And don't get Little Sister started on the concept of Christian Rock. Just don't. It ain't pretty. It's like the uncorking of a 800-year-old bottle of Merlot.
"Bring it on," I told them. They e-mailed me the music, I printed it, taped it together nice and saddled up with the good ol' metronome. After three long measures, I knew I was in trouble. "This is too hard!" I cried, (and I really did cry). "I will never learn this in a week!"
Moe, caped in the glory of Sibelius, came to the rescue. He removed notes from this Everest of a piece and transformed it into a mole hill I could conquer. He added Ma's personally arranged violin and printed it with big, easy-to-read notes.
Now. If compose means to add notes, then decompose must mean to remove notes, correct?
Moe is the Mighty Decomposer.