The natural state of the soul is rest!

Here’s a whole fortnight that my mind and fingers have been working like two lost spirits, = Homer, the Bible, Plato, Locke, Byron, Hugo, Lamartine, Chateaubriand, Beethoven, Bach, Hummel, Mozart, Weber, are all around me. I study them, meditate on them, devour them with fury… Liszt in a Letter to Pierre Wolf – Paris, May…

How weary we are of wandering…

As much a controversy and countless consideration there has been, Richard Strauss’s permanence on a pantheon of composers remains undeniable. How can it be otherwise, when one hears the soaring heights of his Alpensinfonie or tastes the decadent rejoicements of Der Rosenkavalier? He remains a man that embodies a time and its attitudes, perhaps in all…

I am free as air, and the whole world is my haven.

But whether I put the question to my head, heart, or reason, view it in the light of past, present, or future, or according to my abilities, hopes, or prospects, everything from my childhood onwards points to an artistic career. Ask yourself frankly, as you think about my childhood, boyhood, and early manhood, in what…

The World on the Moon

“I was cut off from the world. There was no one to confuse or torment me, and I was forced to become original.” An often overlooked genius, he is a towering, dicreet Colossus in terms of genre. How could someone produce oratorios, as The Creation and The Seasons are, with such mastery in spite of…

Rejouissance.

Händel is the greatest composer that ever lived. I would uncover my head and kneel on his grave. Beethoven, speaking to J. A. Stumpff in the autumn of 1823. If there is someone who makes me feel notsalghia for experiences I haven’t lived, dreams that aren’t mine and a happiness I’ve never felt is Handel….

Withered flowers.

“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…

Idomeneo

“Nevertheless the passions, whether violent or not, should never be so expressed as to reach the point of disgust; and music, even in situations of the greatest horror, should never be painful to the ear but should flatter and charm it, and thereby always remain music.” Mozart will forever remain an endless source of joy….

Beethoven’s Letters & Kirschtorte.

For this purpose I should be pleased if you would let me have by degrees the scores of the masters which you have, as for example, Mozart’s Requiem,  Haydn’s Masses; and  especially everything of the scores of, for instance, Haydn, Mozart, Bach, Johann Sebastian Bach, Emanuel, &c. Of Emanuel Bach’s pianoforte works I have only…

Variations sérieuses.

And do you agree with me, that the first condition of an artist should be to bear respect towards what is great, and to bow to it and acknowledge it, and not attempt to extinguish great flames for the sake of making his own rushlight burn more brightly? – Letter to Wilhelm Taubert, August 27,…

The Idea of North

At the center of the technological debate, then,  is a new kind of listener—a listener more participant in the musical experience.  The emergence of this mid-twentieth-century phenomenon is the greatest achievement of the record industry.  For this listener is no longer passively analytical; he is an associate whose tastes, preferences, and inclinations even now alter…

The Bright Stream

Music is a means capable of expressing dark dramatism and pure rapture, suffering and ecstasy, fiery and cold fury, melancholy and wild merriment – and the subtlest nuances and interplay of these feelings which words are powerless to express and which are unattainable in painting and sculpture. Dmitri Shostakovich Shostakovich was a true representation of Tolstoy’s…

A Weary Hour

“Consciousness of self was an inherent function of matter once it was organized as life, and if that function was enhanced it turned against the organism that bore it, strove to fathom and explain the very phenomenon that produced it, a hope-filled and hopeless striving of life to comprehend itself, as if nature were rummaging…