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…

Fruit and pies, to remember.

“Try this freshly-made pie and an egg,” continued Madame. Chichikov did so, and having eaten more than half of what she offered him, praised the pie highly. Indeed, it was a toothsome dish, and, after his difficulties and exertions with his hostess, it tasted even better than it might otherwise have done. “And also a…

Of Solitude.

The contagion is very dangerous in the crowd. A man must either imitate the vicious or hate them both are dangerous things, either to resemble them because they are many or to hate many because they are unresembling to ourselves… If a man do not first discharge both himself and his mind of the burden…

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….

Epilogue. Chapter III. Ilyusha’s Funeral.

And even if we are occupied with most important things, if we attain to honor or fall into great misfortune—still let us remember how good it was once here, when we were all together, united by a good and kind feeling which made us, for the time we were loving that poor boy, better perhaps…

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….

Boston Cream Pie and dreams.

Oh! that my young life were a lasting dream! My spirit not awakening, till the beam Of an Eternity should bring the morrow. Yes! tho’ that long dream were of hopeless sorrow, ’Twere better than the cold reality Of waking life, to him whose heart must be, And hath been still, upon the lovely earth,…

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…

Winter Notes on Summer Impressions.

Why, we don’t even know what living means now, what it is, and what it is called? Leave us alone without books and we shall be lost and in confusion at once. We shall not know what to join on to, what to cling to, what to love and what to hate, what to respect…

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,…

To define is to limit.

Wilde is piously intent in killing whatever remains of my soul, because he says to know an essence, you must stifle it: he wants me to yearn for my soul. Its value depends on how much exertion it takes to destroy it. André Gide about Wilde, in a letter to Valéry from 1891. Wilde was…