Cat Symphony

Since Father’s Day, it’s no surprise, I’ve been thinking about my father.  He was a symphony conductor and composer; and before he died when I was 23, I enjoyed going to his concerts and waking in the mornings to his piano playing.  He instilled in me a love of music – and of animals.  My father refused to go to Spain because of bullfights.  The only time I ever saw him cry was when Travis shot Old Yeller.

He would have been as thrilled as I at the video I want you to see:  “The Catcerto for Nora the Piano Cat,” composed and conducted by Mindaugas Piecaitis, and performed by Lithuania’s Klaipeda Chamber Orchestra and Nora, a gray tabby.  In a video shown on a screen above the musicians, she brushes her paws over piano keys in a most elegant manner, and Piecaitis’s composition enhances her soft, lovely notes.  Their music woven together is charming.  It’s a triumph of spirit.

Nora became interested in music when her person, Betsy Alexander, was giving piano lessons in Philadelphia.  While the students played, Nora danced on top of the piano or sat on the bench and watched their fingers.  Apparently determined to play herself, in the middle of the night she climbed  onto the bench of Alexander’s Yamaha Disklavier and pressed the keys.  Nora must have loved the sounds because now she often performs solo.  She also plays duets with Alexander’s students – supposedly in the same rhythm and on key.

Cynical people have asked Piecaitis if his “Catcerto” is a joke, and he rightly responds, “Not at all.”  With the piece, he says, “I wanted to remind people how unique and unexpected the world around us could be.”  I would add how magical it can be, too.  You’ll see.  My father would have loved earnest musicians creating music with a cat, rescued from a shelter.  Enjoy! (And give Nora a few seconds to starts playing.)

16 Responses to “Cat Symphony”

  1. 1 Linda Brandenburg June 29, 2012 at 10:35 AM

    Wow. My first thought before watching was how our old cat Murphy would awaken the household with his middle of the night concerts on the piano if we forgot to put the lid down! This was absolutely beautiful. I love how Nora nuzzles the keys adoringly during her performance. Haunting and magical. Thanks Kristin for this wonderful cat moment.

    • 2 Kristin von Kreisler June 29, 2012 at 10:52 AM

      You’re welcome! I thought the music was beautiful, too. The composer was so sensitive to the cat’s notes and worked so beautifully with them. Lucky you to have a kitty who played for you — even in the middle of the night!

  2. 3 Obum Theophilus June 29, 2012 at 12:49 AM

    Hello! After reading your post, I’ve decided to bookmark your website because your site rocks!

  3. 5 Eileen June 28, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    What a Precious Puss! Thank you for posting.

  4. 7 Suzanne H. Kerr June 22, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    The delightful music almost eclipses the adorable cat! Bravo to the composer as well as the cat. Suzanne Kerr

  5. 9 Carole Miller June 22, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    Beautiful! Just magificent!
    Carole, Breena, Breeze and Angel

      • 11 Patricia Polunas June 23, 2012 at 3:33 AM

        Our cat, Princess, also plays the piano! We do not have video of her performance, but she’s been doing this for years. I know your Nora is truly a musician. I believe Princess and Nora are related … they look so much the same and have that talent. I love the kits in the background … they look like they’re thinking “Do we have to listen to her play the piano, again?” Trish Polunas

  6. 13 Lisa Di Nicola and Admiral June 22, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    This gave me chills. Magnificent!

  7. 15 Green Knight June 22, 2012 at 9:56 AM

    talented kitty! my cat Ziffy likes to paw at my guitar, but mainly to see if there’s anything behind it where it leans in the corner.

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