Listen with Father: How I Learned to Love Classical Music

By Caroline Sanderson

A resonant memoir of a beloved father, evoked through the classical music he cherished.

Monday, 15 November 2021

A Book of Remembrance

Yesterday was Remembrance Sunday, the day when we come together to honour the fallen. It’s a collective memorial, but it was built of many thousands of individual bereavements, and to some extent still is. In our house, we remember in particular my husband’s grandfather, a 25-year-old RAF flying officer on a Halifax bomber, killed when it was shot down on a mission over France in 1943, leaving his young wife a widow with two small children.

I cannot compare my own father’s death from cancer at the age of 79, to this young life cut short. But grieving Dad’s loss after his funeral was over, I found myself yearning for my own act of remembrance.

I found it the day I listened to a Mozart piano concerto that Dad had loved. It gave me the idea that I would choose some other pieces of music that he cherished and listen to them with great care and attention as a way of honouring the memory of the ordinary, decent man who was my Dad.

Knowing he had listened to the same pieces turned out to be a wonderful solace; it was as if we were sharing the experience still. And that is why I called my memoir, “Listen With Father”.

It might sound like a grief memoir, but really it’s a book of remembrance. With tunes running through it.


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