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Make do with what you have
3/29/2007 10:58:58 PM

Making the most with what you have.......
>>
>> On Nov. 18, 1995, Itzhak Perlman, the violinist, came on stage to
>> give a concert at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City.
>> If you have ever been to a Perlman concert, you know that getting on
>> stage is no small achievement for him. He was stricken with polio as a
>> child, and so he has braces on both legs and walks with the aid of two
>> crutches. To see him walk across the stage one step at a time, painfully
>> and slowly, is an awesome sight.
>>
>> He walks painfully, yet majestically, until he reaches his chair.
>> Then he sits down, slowly, puts his crutches on the floor, undoes the
>> clasps on his legs, tucks one foot back and extends the other foot
>> forward. Then he bends down and picks up the violin, puts it under his
>> chin, nods to the conductor and proceeds to play.
>>>>
>> By now, the audience is used to this ritual. They sit quietly
>> while he makes his way across the stage to his chair. They remain
>> reverently silent while he undoes the clasps on his legs. They wait until
>> he is ready to play.
>>>
>> But this time, something went wrong. Just as he finished the
>> first few bars, one of the strings on his violin broke. You could hear it
>> snap - it went off like gunfire across the room. There was no mistaking
>> what that sound meant. There was no mistaking what he had to do. We
>> figured that he would have to get up, put on the clasps again, pick up
>> the crutches and limp his way off stage - to either find another violin
>> or else find another string for this one. But he didn't. Instead, he
>> waited a moment, closed his eyes and then signaled the conductor to begin
>> again.
>>>
>> The orchestra began, and he played from where he had left off.
>> And he played with such passion and such power and such purity as they
>> had never heard before.
>>>
>> Of course, anyone knows that it is impossible to play a symphonic
>> work with just three strings. I know that, and you know that, but that
>> night Itzhak Perlman refused to know that.
>>
>> You could see him modulating, changing, re-composing the piece in
>> his head. At one point, it sounded like he was de-tuning the strings to
>> get new sounds from them that they had never made before. When he
>> finished, there was an awesome silence in the room. And then people rose
>> and cheered. There was an extraordinary outburst of applause from every
>> corner of the auditorium. We were all on our feet, screaming and
>> cheering, doing everything we could to show how much we appreciated what
>> he had done.
>
>> He smiled, wiped the sweat from this brow, raised his bow to
>> quiet us, and then he said - not boastfully, but in a quiet, pensive,
>> reverent tone - "You know, sometimes it is the artist's task to find out
>> how much music you can still make with what you have left."

>>
>> What a powerful line that is. It has stayed in my mind ever since
>> I heard it. And who knows? Perhaps that is the definition of life - not
>> just for artists but for all of us. Here is a man who has prepared all
>> his life to make music on a violin of four strings, who, all of a sudden,
>> in the middle of a concert, finds himself with only three strings; so he
>> makes music with three strings, and the music he made that night with
>> just three strings was more beautiful, more sacred, more memorable, than
>> any that he had ever made before, when he had four strings.
>>
>> So, perhaps our task in this shaky, fast-changing, bewildering
>> world in which we live is to make music, at first with all that we have,
>> and then, when that is no longer possible, to make music with what we
>> have left.
>>



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