Anyway the Wind Blows This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

I don’t know exactly when it started. Maybe it was hearing it on the radio, or listening to my dad hum it. It didn’t start immediately, it slowly slurred into an infatuation. But before I knew it, I had an obsession with the song Bohemian Rhapsody.

Bohemian Rhapsody was dreamed and composed by Freddie Mercury of the band Queen. Quite like Mr. Mercury himself, Bohemian Rhapsody is unexpected, flamboyant, and creative. It is five minutes and fifty five seconds of art that includes operatic measures, a frenzied guitar solo, a hardcore rock section, an emotional ballad, and no chorus. Unexpectedly, combining and fusing the polar opposites of rock and opera creates an ebbing and flowing balance that only Freddie Mercury could achieve. Bohemian is unexpected, at the end of every verse something completely new emerges. Everyone has a favorite section of Bohemian Rhapsody because there are so many sections to choose from and completely different qualities to each one. Not only are the verses unexpected, but Bohemian’s success was too. At almost six minutes, radio stations shied away from playing such a recipe for unpopularity, but the masses spoke, and Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen’s legend, sat on the throne of the UK Singles Charts for nine weeks after its release in 1976, and again for five weeks after the sudden death of Freddie Mercury in 1991.

So when my piano teacher asked what song I wanted to play for my up
coming recital, I did not have to think before my mouth opened and said Bohemian Rhapsody. Don’t get me wrong, I love piano, and I really do work hard on my piece each year, but this year was completely different. No longer was it just another recital, but a concert that I truly cared about and felt a connection with. As a perfectionist, diligently ironing out slips and kinks on the keys with my less than nimble fingers was tiring, but it never ceased to be enjoyable. Every section became a conquest, and when every note found their proper place, I was ecstatic.

It took about three months to learn and memorize the ten pages, and at times I thought I would never finish. With the recital looming in less than a month, I had nine of the ten pages memorized and I was cutting it pretty close. I worked on it all the time, I wanted more than anything to play it perfectly at the recital. I imagined myself playing all the right notes, I began humming it more than usual, and I even had a few dreams of myself playing it.

The day before the recital we had a rehearsal to make sure the last staccatos were dotted, the ritardandos were cascaded, and that every note was in its place. As I walked to the piano to begin, I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. I sat down at the bench, placed my fingers on the keys. Just as the beginning lyrics say, it felt like a whirlwind fantasy, my brain was turned completely off, and I was on auto-drive. As I reached the climactic Galileos, my fingers slipped and it was lost from there. I found my place, but I knew it would not be sufficient for tomorrow. Instead of preparing me for the next day, that practice undermined my already pathetic morsel of confidence. I went home and practiced over and over until not one note was out of place. The piece had to be perfect, or I would be devastated.

The day of the recital came quickly, although the clock that day moved as fast as roses grew. As four o’clock came, so did the nerves. By the time I got to the concert, my palms were sweating, and the butterflies were spreading. As I listened to the other pieces, I checked out mentally and focused on the notes of the other songs. When my turn finally came, I took a deep breath; I took the few steps that seemed like a thousand to the piano bench. I sat down, placed my fingers on the keys and started.

The introduction began with a touch of hesitation, and writhed between harmonic changes of “real life” and “fantasy”. Since the introduction opened, it would set the tone for the entire piece, it was the part I had learned first and practiced the most. No mistakes, I continued. The ballad section followed, where I slipped on two keys, I forged ahead, trying my best to stay calm, and reflect the mood of Freddie’s voice echoing in my head. Next was the guitar solo, the fastest part. Although they weren’t severe, more than two mistakes were made in that section. The opera section came next, which is still a bit of a blur. In the opera section, the lyrics tell of a trial in which a poor boy is being torn between numerous preconceptions. Thinking about the lyrics, I realized, the preconception of perfection was not my goal anymore. The boy in the song was torn, just like I was torn for perfection, perfection I knew was not possible. The heavy rock section came next, followed by the lullaby finish. As I played the final chord, I took another deep breath, stood up, curtseyed, and walked back to my seat.

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when I felt it, but I knew that I had succeeded. My success did not come with the perfection of the piece, rather the imperfection. Perfection is boring; imperfection takes chances and makes life interesting. Freddie Mercury took a risk in composing one of the most original songs ever created, and Bohemian Rhapsody succeeded because it was not just a pretty ballad, or a head banging rock riff, it was an unpredictable piece of art. Because neither Freddie nor any of the other members of Queen ever told what the song was actually about, a lot of speculation in attempts to find the true meaning has left many confused and unsure. But that is the beauty of Bohemian; it has a different meaning for everyone. For me, it was discovering that if something is not perfect, it is not worthless. My next recital is this weekend, marking the one-year anniversary of when I played Bohemian Rhapsody. Am I nervous? Of course, but no matter what happened or happens, I know I will be okay. It is not about stressing over perfection, it is about celebrating imperfection, because anyway the wind blows, it doesn’t really matter.





Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

BohemianRhapsody96 said...
Sept. 24, 2013 at 6:43 pm
I love this song! If only I kew how to play the piano... or the guitar... or the drums... or could sing well.
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback