But I will write in spite of everything.

“This tremendous world I have inside of me. How to free myself, and this world, without tearing myself to pieces. And rather tear myself to a thousand pieces than be buried with this world within me.” from his Diaries “I am constantly trying to communicate something incommunicable, to explain something inexplicable, to tell about something I…

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…

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…

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…

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,…

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…

Anke Pie and other thoughts.

Art is not, as the metaphysicians say, the manifestation of some mysterious idea of beauty or God; it is not, as the aesthetical physiologists say, a game in which man lets off his excess of stored-up energy; it is not the expression of man’s emotions by external signs; it is not the production of pleasing…

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…

A Feast During the Plague.

Pushkin is an extraordinary phenomenon, and, perhaps, the unique phenomenon of the Russian spirit, said Gogol. I will add, ‘and a prophetic phenomenon.’ …No, I will say deliberately, there had never been a poet with a universal sympathy like Pushkin’s. And it is not his sympathy alone, but his amazing profundity, the reincarnation of his spirit…