by Anton Wills-Eve

<a href=””>Isn’t Your Face Red</a>

showing off!


It was my last term at school and I had just had my eigtheenth birthday (May 10) and only had two important exams left before I could do what I liked for the final 6 weeks. But oddly, I was feeling a bit nostalgic as I thought back over the eleven years I had spent at a place which had provided me with so much enjoyment in sport and learning and where I had made so many great friendships, not least with God. But within the limitations of our earthly life the greatest thing school had given me was an undying love of classical music, 40 minute lessons twice a week for 31 terms, especially playing the piano. So during lunch break I wandered over to the music room and asked the music master,

“If you’re not doing anything  important that involves using the piano,Sir, would you mind me enjoying myself for about twenty minutes?” He smiled,

“Oh no, it’s Rachmaninov! Yes of course you can, but something you know I’ll like.” We had nineteen ordained monks on the school staff and about 40 more lay teachers, male and female. But of all the lay teachers he had become far and away my best friend. I knew he loved Opera,especially Mozart, so I decided to play a ten minute impromptu variation on one of the the best known arias. But I couldn’t resist the Rachmaninov jibe and started with a bravura rendering of the g minor prelude from opus 25. He almost laughed.But For the whole 10 minutes of the Mozart he was silent. When I finished he was sitting there looking very puzzled.

“Anton, what on earth was that supposed to be? You were obviously messing about with some Mozart, and some of it was brilliant and some lovely, but what was it variations on?” I told him ‘Soave sia il vento’ an aria from Cosi Fan Tutte, but thought that maybe I had messed about with it too much.

“Too much?” he laughed, “You have just played me a complete piano adaptation from start to finish of the opera’s overture. I love ‘Soave sia il vento’ so go home tonight and compose me a ten minute set of variations on that alone. It can be your leaving present to me.” It was a lovely idea and I did it in about three evenings, but boy did I feel a fool when I realised what I had done at first by playing the overture and not the variations. It taught me not to show off!.

Anton Wills-Eve