"I am in a profession that keeps no regular hours and that is peripatetic enough to rival a professional pi lot's. So I treasure my time at home, and my idea of a holiday is to unpack. Brochures extolling the virtues of resort hotels ('Two Saunas! Two Discos!') fill me with dread. And while I have certainly pursued various hobbies and interests throughout my life, nothing comes close to the joy I feel when I spend time at home with my 2-year-old son, Lukas. For the sake of clarity I must explain that Lukas is the name on his birth certificate, and my wife and I do call him by that official title during those moments when we attempt authority, but for the rest of the day he is Chubbs. By now he is tall and slim, but when he was born he was definitely more Chubbs than Lukas, and the endearment stuck. Obviously, it is a nickname not slated for a lifetime, and within a few years it will have been relegated to nostalgia, but right now it is firmly attached to him.
I am often asked whether Chubbs is displaying any musical tendencies. Well, he loves listening. He often requests that I play the piano for him, after which he wants his turn at the keyboard, and he frequents my rehearsals, recordings and afternoon concerts. His tastes in music are definitely forming, as was proven one evening a few weeks ago. After dinner, Chubbs invariably wants the following routine: to go into my study with me, close the door behind us, select a tape to listen to and then crawl around the floor with small wooden cars and fire engines. The selection process is serious business for him; since he, unfortunately, has mastered the mechanics of the tape recorder, he likes to choose and put on the piece in question by himself. For a while 'Teddy Bear's Picnic' was a clear winner, but it was rather quickly replaced in his affections by certain movements of various Haydn symphonies and, most of all, by the slow movement of the G Major Violin Concerto of Mozart. That particular melody he wants every night, and it makes him forget to push his favorite car around the carpet. One night I remembered that a new tape had come in the post--a collection of works by an experimental music group in Paris. 'Want to hear a new tape, Chubbs?' I asked, and my small son nodded vigorously. I started the machine, and the room filled with the supposed music of the future: squeaks, clanks, whistles, groans and metallic smashes. Lukas was riveted for about 30 seconds. Then, with wide, worried eyes, he announced 'No!' and went over to the tape recorder and kicked it with all his might. It took instant Mozart and a gumdrop to restore his tranquillity. My adoration for him knew no bounds.