Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), Piano Sonata No. 31 in A flat major, Op. 110; Hélène Grimaud (1969-), live, Germany (Berlin), c. 2001
Each performer plays this piece differently, and each performance is different. Each listener hears it differently, and each listen is different. This isn’t one piece; it’s many.
Two sons, two fathers. Saturday evening, as we were driving back to Bloomington from Indianapolis, where we’d celebrated his graduation from Indiana University at a grand old steakhouse, Luke got a call from a friend. A guy he knew, who grew up in the town right next to us and was a couple years behind him at IU, had just been in a terrible car accident—north of Indianapolis, on the highway to Chicago. He was on his way home for the summer. Now all I could think of was his father, whom I had never met. He would be getting into his car. He would be driving into Chicago on the Eisenhower Expressway, then going south on the Dan Ryan. He would be taking the Skyway into Indiana, then heading toward Indianapolis on Interstate 65. He would be going to get his son. For the last time.