Monday, March 14, 2022

His "Boyish Desire"

In a previous post someone referred to a mention of Valentino and his musical aptitude. I excerpt for the record here, George Ullman's memoir with his piano reference. This took place after the New York opening of The Eagle.


“At this particular time he talked to me of his ambitions. One thing in particular, I remember, was his plan, immediately upon his return to Hollywood, to go in seriously for piano lessons, for which instrument he had a natural aptitude. He said that he intended to let no one, not even his closest friends, know of his work until he was prepared to be able to play commendably, regardless of the amount of time this would take. In this I realized two things. One was his love of the dramatic, and the other his boyish desire to spring a surprise on his friends.”

George comments that Valentino had a “natural aptitude” for the piano which implies he already played to some degree. He died before he could master the instrument and that should inspire me. Long ago, some fifty years ago, I was a student at a music conservatory in New York. I majored in piano. I played all day and practiced until late at night. I achieved a measure of accomplishment, had students and it was a huge part, if not my life then. I have barely played since then.... as in not at all. Renato recently bought me a piano and there it looms, like a haunting memory of something I lost but wish I could recover.

But if Valentino did not live long enough to work up a piece to surprise his friends, maybe I can take that as inspiration and feel encouraged to rehabilitate my piano playing to some degree.

His “boyish desire” as George called it, should inspire I think. Life is so short so I will get on it.