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A Love Story Woven on a Chopin Canvas and Oberlin Campus

David and Eleanor Bidwell met at Oberlin and sealed their love with music. John, their son, memorialized their performances on CD, drawing himself closer to their artistically expressive lives.

A few years ago, I received  a telling message through my Authors Den website.

John Bidwell, a spirited short story writer and poet, shared more than a literary connection with me. He waxed poetic about his late mother and father, Eleanor and David, who were pianists and 1950's classmates at Oberlin. (my alma mater)

(Attached: A Reunion photo taken in front of the music Conservatory)

Yet despite the sender's excitement about contacting another "pianist" who attended the Midwest school, he voiced "regrets about not being into his parent's kind of music while they were living."

A gush of e-mails followed. One compared my playing to Eleanor's.  (HUBBARD, maiden name)

"It is beyond endearing, because you have the same spark of life that my mom had." He added a "smile" to his flattery.

Had John implied that I channeled his late mother's spirit through my You Tube postings? Or was I more directly, a reincarnation of her?

Soon enough I listened to Eleanor's beautiful music that followed husband, David's: And though digitized, the showcase of masterworks was impressive: Bach, Handel, Brahms, Chopin, Schumann, Debussy selections, etc.

John had gone to great lengths transferring reel-to-reel, home-based and church performances to CD, adding a well-researched, companion discography. It was an epic undertaking driven by undying love for what his parents had bestowed to family and community.

***

Windows Media files bearing Chopin's music kept me in a state of karmic bliss as John fed them over months and years.

In time, I was privy to the grand musical love affair that bonded two special people together at its Oberlin inception.

It was a relationship borne of "music and magic," John said.

***

While Eleanor "taught piano; worked as organist at St. John's Episcopal Church in Boonton, New Jersey for 39 years; became high school secretary- (and was on call for musicals), dad was employed as an electronics engineer at RFL Industries in the same town."

Bidwell added that his father "played piano at home, but also accompanied singer Betty Ann Busch/Cluthe who went on to teach voice to some of Broadway's best!...

He also put in a stint as principal accompanist for the Mountain Lakes Glee Club in the 1960s." (John informed me that David's Oberlin teacher was Joseph Hungate, whom I'd met during my Conservatory years. A "singing tone" advocate, Hungate nursed along many fine pianists who reached concert stages here and abroad)

As for mom, John bemoaned her "playing a dull old Hooker organ at the Episcopal Church in Boonton... But at least"," he insisted, "it had 39 years of mother's spark keeping families together--- you know, with all those weddings- WOW."

****

Was I about to be blessed with further revelations about parents who posthumously brought their son closer to Chopin's altar?


My prayers were answered when early this morning John posted a Facebook message about my latest You Tube offering.

http://youtu.be/bbzKAmz2r_A

With a generous touch of gratitude, he wrote:  ".... Dad passed away 4 years ago today- so I'm very thankful to not only hear this- but to hear it so exactly as I remember it with such feeling." :)

More channeling?

In an instant he dashed off two e-mails bearing John and Eleanor's memorialized Chopin at its finest.

Were they were planting a subliminal message in my psyche that I soar with them on wings of song?

I hopped to the task, sorting through selected photos John had sent over years--- importing them separately onto David and Eleanor's soundtracks.

If Shakespeare would have the final say in this, he'd leave us with these words,

"If Music be the Food of Love, Play On."

David:

http://youtu.be/E2DwYje1RRE

Eleanor:

http://youtu.be/U6LwY_lrXvo


***
The Bidwell Discography

Eleanor Bidwell Piano Works CD
Track #1.     Schumann Symphonic Etudes Op 13, #3.
Track #2. Bach; Fantasia & Fugue in A minor.
Track #3. Schumann; Etudes Symphoniques Opus 13.
Track #4. Chopin; Mazurka Opus 33 No. 2.
Track #5. Brahms; Intermezzo Opus 119 No. 2.
Track #6. Brahms; Intermezzo Opus 119 #3.
Track #7. Prokofiev; Four Visions Fugitives Con Una dolce lentezza.
Poetico, Dolente, Feroce.
Track #8. Debussy; Les tierces alternees.
Track #9. Chopin; Mazurka Opus 17 #4.
 
  Eleanor Bidwell at the St. John’s Organ.
St. John’s Episcopal Church, Boonton.
Track 10: Trumpet Tune by Henry Purcell.
Track 11: Prince of Denmark ’s March by Jeremiah Clarke.
Track 12: Jesus Joy of Man’s Desiring by JS Bach.
Track 13: Prelude in B flat Major by JS Bach.
Track 14: Now Thank We All Our God by Karg Elert.
 
 
David C. Bidwell CDs,  Vol #1      
Track 1: Sebastian Bach Italian Concerto Movement 1, Allegro.
Track 2: Liszt Consolations final part #6.
Track 3: Chopin Polonaise Op 53 #6 in A flat.
Track #4: Chopin Etude No 3 in E  Op 10.
Track #5: Chopin Etude No 5 in E minor. Op 25.
Track #6: Brahms Intermezzo Op 117 #2 in B flat.
Track #7: Brahms Ballade Op 118.
Track #8: Brahms Op 118 Intermezzo #1.
Track #9: Chopin 4th movement Sonata #3 Presto non tanto.
Track #10: Chopin Prelude OP 28 #21.
Track #11: Chopin Prelude Op 28 #22.
Track #12: Chopin Prelude Op 28 #4 E minor.
Track #13: Chopin Prelude Op 28 #20.
 
David C. Bidwell CDs.  Vol #2.
Track #1: Chopin Prelude Op 28 #6 B minor.
Track #2: Chopin Prelude Op 28 #1.
Track #3: Robert Schumann Aufschwung.
Track #4: Chopin Fantasie in F minor Op 49 Part 1.
Track #5: Chopin Polonaise in A Op 40 #1 (Military.)
Track #6:  Chopin Ballade #3.
Track #7: Chopin Scherzo Op 31 #2.
Track #8: Rachmaninoff Prelude in G sharp Minor Op 32  12.
Track #9: Rachmaninoff Prelude in C sharp minor Op 3 #4.
Track #10: Schumann Fantasiestucke Op 12 #1 Des Abends.
Track #11: Chopin Nocturne Op 9 #2.
Track #12: Chopin Prelude Op 28 #20.
 
David C. Bidwell CDs.  Private Collection
Track #1: Chopin Fantasie Impromptu.
Track #2:  Chopin Waltz in A Minor.
Track #3: Beethoven 1st Movement Sonata in F Sharp Major Op 78.
Track #4: Chopin Prelude Op 28 #23.
Track #5: Chopin Mazurka Op 67 #4.
Track #6: Chopin Polonaise Op 53 #6 in A flat.
Track #7: Brahms Ballade Op 118.
Track #8: Brahms Intermezzo Op 117 #2 in B flat.
Track #9: Chopin Nocturne Op 27 #1 in C Sharp minor.
Track #10:  Chopin Nocturne Op 15 #2 in F Sharp Major.
Track #11:  Chopin 3rd Movement Sonata #3.
Track #12:  Chopin Prelude Op 28 #20.
Track #13:  Chopin Nocturne in C Minor Op 48 #1.
Track #14: Handel Rejoice Greatly, with Betty Ann Cluthe- vocalist.

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