The Busker


Photo Source: Craige Moore

I am the music. I am the etude in the interlude of your commute. I am the soaring arpeggios that connect your trains as you transfer. I am the sound of your morning.

You know me from the E Train platform at 34th St. My cello resonates through the ten seconds it takes to go from your train to the stairs. I am the Bach Cello Suites you hear in the background as you head for your office.

I have studied and absorbed the Casals recordings, and I bring the passion to my studies uptown and to my busking downtown. I practice the suites all morning as you, my audience, comes and goes, over and over again, and again. An audience of 1,000 every 90 seconds. An audience of 120,000 for the three hours I play every morning. An audience of 120,000 that stays for ten seconds. You are not here for me, but I am here for you with the music that lifts your spirit for the day ahead.

You pass me by. You walk by, hurried and harried. You sometimes acknowledge, sometimes dropping change in my case. Mostly you walk by, occupied by other thoughts. But you hear and recognize. The magnificence of Suite No. 1 in G Major greets you as the doors of your train open. You have heard it so many times before, and now you hear it on the platform on the way to Point B. You pause for a split second, recognize the melody and move on as the music passes on to you. You are not aware of me at all, but you have received my morning gift.

You are not aware of me, but I am the music of your morning.

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29 comments
  1. Outstanding!

    • Thank you muchly!

  2. Love this!

    • Thankyah!

  3. Great story. It reminds us to pay more attention to our surroundings and be grateful.

    • Absolutely, right? Thanks for reminding me again here.

  4. Nice. I love to hear music in unexpected places,and I do try to pay attention.

    What’s a busker?

    • Busker = subway performer. Subway or sidewalk.

  5. Beautiful! I can hear it even now sitting in my living room. Thank you…

    • And you can hit play and actually hear it! Minus the subway screech…

  6. Beautifully conceived and executed persona piece, Brian! For me, this one did something unexpected– it left me daydreaming about cello and cellists. I just spent the last twenty minutes listening to recordings of Casals, then Ma, and, finally, my favorite– Du Pré, playing the same selection (“Le Cygne”).

    Thank you for that. This was a wonderful way to start Monday morning. Your cellist is so three-dimensional, so real. And what’s most interesting, now that I think about it, is that you manage to create a character who, really, could be a woman or a man. (!)

    • Strip away the unessential, right? *wink, nudge*

  7. But it all comes down to the execution, and that is all you, my friend!

    • It’s getting there. 😉

  8. Absolutely love this. I personally believe there’s a million little amazing things at work all day long so human beings don’t suddenly go ballistic and explode and music is one of them. You capture it perfectly and by using sparse words with vivid imagery, it sticks immediately. Nicely done.

    • Thank you, sir! You are so correct. It’s all we can do to find those little pockets of sanity sometimes. I hope this serves as one.

  9. Can’t pass a subway busker without stopping to listen for at least a moment….

    • I did all the time as well. Unless they sucked, of course.

  10. Shahidah said:

    I had no idea they were called buskers!!! Odd sounding word. I love street musicians when they are different. I don’t get into the subways of Boston often but during the summer months here I do get the pleasure of listening to some AWESOME street performers, Berkely School of Music is up the street and I suspect a few of them do this.

    • Oh, for sure. I did a year at Berklee and also played out in a few bands, and I know quite a few former and current buskers. Proud musicians, strange name. 😉

      Great to have you on board, Shahidah! Thanks so much for commenting!!

  11. Anna said:

    I’ve just found my way here from the forums, and I think your work is fantastic. I shall certainly be back to read more!

    • I am honored and thanks!

  12. morezennow said:

    “I am the etude in the interlude of your commute.”—this is the most lovely, flowing line. Dios mio. I’m going to carry this close to me, Brian.
    Your stories, your brief glimpses into the lives of people we take as background noise are potent reminders to see the person driving my cab, the person pouring their soul out on the concrete and up into sky. Thank you again for taking me to that somewhere I didn’t know I wanted to go to.

    • Oh man, you’re gonna get me all verklempt now! Thank you so much.

  13. Reblogged this on Espacio de MANON.

  14. Loved it – thanks.

    • Gracias!

  15. craige said:

    Lovely!

    • It starts with the image. 😉

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