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31.8.08

À mon chevet: The Dying Animal

Philip Roth, The Professor of Desire
À mon chevet is a series of posts featuring a quote from whatever book is on my nightstand at the moment.
We had once enacted just such a tableau in the flesh, so I was as much remembering as imagining. I had asked her if she would take off her clothes and let me look at her while I played the Mozart Sonata in C Minor, and she obliged. I don't know that I played it any better than I ordinarily did, but that was never the point. In another recurring fantasy, I am telling her, "This is a metronome. The little light flashes and it makes a periodic noise. That's all it does. You adjust the pace to what you want. Not only amateurs like me but professionals, even great concert pianists, have the problem of what's called rushing." Once again, I envision her standing by the piano with her clothes at her feet, as on the night when, fully dressed, I played the C Minor Sonata, serenading her nudity with the slow movement. (Sometimes she would come to me in a dream identified, like a spy, only as "K. 457.")

-- Philip Roth, The Dying Animal (2001), pp. 100-101
This is the third of Roth's books about David Kepesh, and it was the basis of Isabel Coixet's new film Elegy. Embedded below is a video of Friedrich Gulda playing the slow movement of K. 457, which will provide the musical component of the excerpt.

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