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Monday, June 9, 2014

Before the Storm. By John von Daler

                         The Eton suit: brown with short pants, a jacket with three buttons, collarless, single-breasted. Underneath, a white shirt with a rounded collar. On my feet sturdy brown shoes into which the salesman, unaware of the dangers of leukemia, had peered through the x-rays to see that my toes did not touch the rounded leather tip. In my hand my half-size #violin. I was a #prodigy.

                With my mother as accompanist I made the rounds of television, radio and ladies clubs. Oklahoma had lots of ladies clubs. I never learned what they did when I was not playing for them. I only knew that this playing was my life, just as listening must have been theirs. What there might have been of baseball games, football games, and nursery schools would have to wait until my next life. These fingers were made for playing.
                Probably in the same way that the prisoner loves his keeper, his contact with life outside, I loved my violin and through it channeled my many feelings - of being trapped, of being freed, of beauty, of fear, of light and dark. The ladies sobbed while I played "As a Gypsy Makes his Violin Cry" and they laughed as I played "Fiddle Faddle". In the middle of the commotion I stood without nerves, calm as the eye of a storm.
                Hans Andersen wrote of Denmark that his world extended from his land, his birthplace, his roots. Seen from that point of view, my world extended up to the violin and was complete within that resulting framework. I felt relaxed and confident. My life just looked like that. And then came puberty.

You can buy my book, "Pieces: A Life in Eight Movements and a Prelude" in Copenhagen at 
in Vermont at 
and anywhere in the U.S.A. via

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