Salon with Boyfriend


Chopin plays for the Radziwiłłs, 1829 (painting by Henryk Siemiradzki, 1887)

Last night my boyfriend and I were invited over to the home of a friend for an evening of cocktails, dinner, music, and poetry. The music part entailed our host and three of the guests, including my boyfriend, playing the piano, cello, bassoon, and singing. The two of us without musical ability read poems. We heard a bit of opera, some beautiful classical pieces, and a few more modern songs. I read a Robert Burns poem that I love called, John Anderson my jo, John, and another man read a wonderful Maya Angelou poem called, Still I Rise.

One of the highlights of the evening was sitting with my hand on my boyfriend leg as I leaned against his chest, with his arm around me, as we listened to two women play some lovely short classical pieces on the cello and bassoon. It was so intimate, and at the same time, so out in the world, to be close to my boyfriend in this way.

The other highlight of the evening was seeing my boyfriend perform. As we have gotten to know each other this past year, I have grown to respect his deep knowledge and love of music and singing, but I had never seen him perform before. At one point in the evening he offered to play a classical piece on the piano, which he had not rehearsed, in order to accompany one of the woman with a song she wished to sing. He played beautifully. At another part of the evening, he sung three songs he had prepared while our host played the piano. Part of what I have found attractive in him is his passion, knowledge and expertise in music, without the ego and self-importance that often accompanies deep knowledge.

Throughout the evening I felt like I had been transported back to the salons I have read about in literature, possibly mid-19th century Paris, with a coterie of incredible artists. It was thrilling to sit a few feet away from a performer singing a beautiful opera song accompanied by the piano or two musicians performing on cello and bassoon a series of short classical pieces. I look forward to more evenings like this.

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