Withered flowers.

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“No one feels another’s grief, no one understands another’s joy. People imagine that they can reach one another. In reality they only pass each other by.”

In Schubert, one can always find comfort. In his lieder, there is perpetual discovery. One can always find new landscapes, nuances to the emotion and the nature of the Winterreise or his tenebrous Der Tod und das Mädche, and his wayfaring Die schöne Mullerin.

Such implication of an endless voyage, as in his dkd, is not only to be found in his lieder, but in his wondrous sonatas as well. I must highlight one in particular, his Piano Sonata No. 18 (which Schumann considered “most perfect in form and conception”). It is indeed, an absolute music particularly in its first movement with that tender trill on G-flat, that then becomes an ecompassing force of fervor, unrelenting, awakening. Pieces like this, particularly when performed by Richter, are an enigmatic appartition, that infinity of delight which Baudelaire describes.

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For his birthday, I opted for a Viennese delight, Punschkrapfen, a heavenly confection made of cake crumbs, nougat and soaked in rum. This lovely afternoon was spent listening to his lieder performed by Fischer-Dieskau and Richter, an exemplary encounter of artists.

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“My compositions spring from my sorrows. Those that give the world the greatest delight were born of my deepest griefs.”

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