Not all things on my “planet” are bad.  It’s true that almost nothing works properly and the dilapidation is very noticeable, but, in spite all of these years of frustrations, sacrifices, losses, and painful goodbyes, there’s also something that keeps going: friendship and the warmth among some friends.

A couple of nights ago we had the immense pleasure and privilege of being invited to a cordial evening at the home of a friend.  The main attraction consisted of a mini violin concerto, with which Maestro Evelio Tieles congratulated the host.

It was marvelous to hear that beautiful, impeccably performed medley by the famous violinist.  Beginning with Manuel de Falla’s Nana, he went on to present, note by note, a review of the most beautiful Cuban music of all time:  Veinte Años, Quiéreme Mucho, La Bayamesa, La Tarde, and, as a finale, El Mambí.

As marvelous as the interpretations of such precisely chosen pieces were, equally good were the conversations after, spanning the most varied topics.  We left feeling more than grateful for such an unexpected invitation, like one who emerges from a radiant shower of light.

This undeserved privilege was complimented by another invitation, last Sunday, this time extended personally by the Maestro: a piano and violin recital at the Basilica of San Francisco, in the heart of Old Havana.  The chosen setting couldn’t have been better.

On this occasion, the strings and bow plucked by Tieles brought us the whims of Paganini, those nocturnes by Chopin, and crowned the majesty of the repertoire with Schumann’s Sonata in A Minor, Opus 105.

It seemed as if sparks flew off the strings of the violin, to say nothing of the trial faced by Yamilé Cruz, the young accompanying pianist, who soared before the challenge imposed by the mastery of the multi-award winning Evelio Tieles.  It was a magical evening, wherein the absence of figures from the nomenklatura and propagandistic introductions was noted with pleasure.

Translated by: Yoyi el Monaguillo

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