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Bon Journal

Dueting in Amsterdam

I used to have a hypothesis that one is either good at sightreading or memorising, rarely both. But increasingly I was proven wrong - when I encountered professional musicians.

I sent the Dutch pianist Heleen some piano duets, before I had even met or spoken to her. On this Sunday afternoon, we sightread Faure's Dolly Suite, which he had written specifically for four hands and one piano. It was a fun piece. Heleen showed me some of her compositions - the latest being variations on the happy birthday tune and other jolly pieces. I presented my piano duet on the happy birthday theme. But the trumpet part needed to be sung or played - and Robert Bekkers happily took out his guitar.

We had only planned to play for a couple of hours - but Heleen's husband returned home and insisted that we stay for dinner.

We connected through music, red wine, Dutch cheese, and Thai take-away. There was really no need for words, as our double dueting was about love and passion: our love of music and our passion to consume it.

While I was in such an elated mood, I asked Heleen and her husband what it took to preserve a love. After all, I had listened to Classic Romance (Sunday mornings on Classic Radio station) for many years trying to distill the critical success factors. Is it commitment and belief that it would work out? Is it being ready at the same time?

No, they said. That was not enough. It also takes a little bit of luck. With this, they gazed into each other's eyes and kissed.

Oh! If music could bring romance, then I better stick with it.

27 May 2001

Heleen and Anne sightreading Faure's Dolly Suite in the centre of Amsterdam
Robert and Heleen reading Tedesco, Diabelli, and others.