Falstaff’s Lament and Charade

Was the title of the piece being played (and written) by William Beauvais at the Summer Guitar Festival concert Zaia and I were attending that lovely August evening. This was the first time I had attended an event such as this and I only briefly read the programme, going only so far as to read the artists names. Even if I had read the title of the piece it would mean nothing to me. I was simply an enthused listener awaiting the music ahead. We were able to have front row, center seats as only the students and guests attended the concert.

Mr. Beauvais described the piece with technical references about how he put the piece together, joking about how if you happened to have a master degree in music (as apparently someone he knew in the audience had) would be amused by how he arranged a certain section. He then proceeded to play the piece.

The piece had barely begun when I was bombarded by an emotional wave of energy coming at me from literally left-field. I was at first quite confused as tears were welling up in my eyes and I didn’t know why. I then realized there was this excited voice in my head and it was my recently departed mare, Hausta. Somehow this piece of music had become a conduit for her to reach out to me.

She was telling me that this was exactly what she was feeling the last day of her life. As each note of music came forth from the guitar it echoed her words repeatedly and excitedly telling me she so wanted to tell me this. She was like a child who has too much to say in too little time and she just kept jumping around in my head. Going between her telling me how sad she felt and how happy she was to be given this opportunity to tell me this as the day she died hadn’t allowed us to share our feelings about what was happening to her. I can barely contain the torrent of tears that are filling my eyes just stunned by what is happening. She is telling me that she knew how sad I was which made her sad as well.

Then the piece shifts into what I can only describe as Hausta showing me the joy of her life through her eyes, running in the field with her whole being filled with joy and telling me how she loved her life and it was filled with happiness, a total counterpoint to the first half of the music which was one of sorrow in the knowledge that her life was coming to an end. She knew how much she was loved by us and how much she loved us. She knows that she is dead and she is showing me that there are all these other animals with her. It is all I can do not to sob out loud.

The piece of music comes to an end but there is still another piece to be played before the intermission; I have no idea how I am going to get through it. Through all of this Zaia had been seeing me being overcome and wondering what is going on. I tell him I have to first speak to Mr. Beauvais. Zaia had been given lessons from him during the festival and we went over to speak with him. I immediately asked him what was the inspiration behind the piece he played, he starts by explaining that is was a longer take on a 25 second piece of music and then he stops. He looks at me and must have seen the emotional in my face and tells me that it was actually written for his beloved dog that had died from a neurological disorder. His dog would lie at his music stand; having licked the paint off of it over the years. He also added that he had never told anyone this before. I then tell him what had just transpired with me all the while Zaia is gob smacked. Tears come to Mr. Beauvais eyes and I hug him with many thanks for having so aptly captured the feelings during this time.

I absolutely knew that the music was written about a departed animal and not a human. Our animals live a more innocent and purer version of life than us humans and this piece of music had so accurately captured this element. I also have to point out that this experience is not one I have ever had and if anyone else had told me this had happened to them I would have felt it was contrived or at the very least motivated by a set-up. By that I mean you were told before the piece that it was about a departed animal and it would resonate with you if you had, like me, recently lost a beloved horse. But this wasn’t the case with this experience, there was no set-up, this was just a shock from which several days later I am still reeling from.

It was only later that I realized that the name of the piece indicated the two sides of the music, the lament (the sorrow) and the charade (the joy).