Last night Jean and I went to see the film Alan Bennett has scripted of his Lady in the Van memoire. Maggie Smith is the Lady and Mr Bennett has chosen Chopin’s 1st piano concerto as the piece of music to illustrate her musical history. She was forced to suppress her musical gifts to attain a higher spirituality 9according to her catholic order), with terrible consequences (although we laugh) for her fragile psychology. The E major  slow movement is the emotional focus of this musical narrative. To me it was all in F major from the start of the film – no surprise given the recent shift I have noted and relative weakness of E major since the start of the changes to my pitch sense. Towards the end of the film, Ms Smith (aka Miss Shepherd) sees a piano in the health centre where she has been taken for a cleaning up. The screenplay doesn’t show the piano but we know that is what she has seen. Will she play it? Well, she does. And we see Ms Smith’s lined fingers on the keys. I wondered, seeing her play the actual notes, if the key I was hearing would change. If I saw her playing an E major chord would I hear one as I do when I play? Perhaps because the close up only last a few seconds, nothing changed. I had to enjoy this central emotional moment in Ms Shepherd’s story in the wrong key. So I did.

Today on the way to the hospital, I listened to our recording of this piano concerto. Up a semitone from beginning to end. So now, through the quirks of my aging brain, Chopin has written 2 piano concertos in F minor for me. I will report when the second one shifts to F sharp minor (one of my less recognisable keys), but no hint of it doing so yet.