SECOND-HAND SHEET MUSIC
One of the things I do to reward myself is to visit the Archive Bookstore on Bell Street, near the Marylebone tube/train station in London. The basement is filled with second-hand sheet music collected from estates, libraries, or donations.
Yesterday I cycled in the bitter cold, having already decided that I needed to pamper myself with new music to sightread. Without a hat or a scarf, even four layers of clothing were insufficient. Still, I was determined to reach my destination and spend an hour there before cycling to my friend's singing lessons.
The bookstore was spilling over with old books and sheet music. There was hardly any room to stand. I wedged myself between two shelves and quickly pulled out scores from the 2-piano 4-hands collection. I found several Mozart and Beethoven piano concerto scores, but nothing more exotic.
The owner asked if I've seen the pile of unsorted music scores on the other side. I asked if he had ever considered getting music students to help him sort all this out. They would have an incentive and get paid in kind. I could have done this for you when I was a student, I said. Now I have less time.
In the basement, I found a piano duet arrangement for Handel's Zadok the Priest. Later that afternoon I met a professional accompanist/pianist who sightread that with me. The entire afternoon was like a chapter from Vikram Seth's An Equal Music!
From my father 9 March:
You say in your latest diary you suffer very cold air outdoors cycling to and fro between home and stores for daily commodities. Geographically speaking, you should not forget the lattitude of Britain is about the same as Siberia, even farther north than Manchuria, which is colder than Peking!
You're writing is better and more meaningful. No wonder your website has attracted more visitors.