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 Solitary One in Autumn

“But it’s peculiar, as soon as I am in the midst of nature and by myself, everything that is base and trivial vanishes without trace. On such days nothing scares me; and this helps me again and again.” Thomas Mann said of Mahler: ‘the man who, as I believe, expresses the art of our time in…

A Weekend Celebration.

Music is not a delusion but a revelation. And its triumphant force lies precisely in the fact that it opens up to us elements of beauty which would be inaccessible to us in any other sphere, and the contemplation of which reconciles us with life not temporarily but forever. Letter to Nadezha von Meck, 17 December…

On Bach.

  “It is a rediscovery of the world of which I have the joy of being a part. It fills me with awareness of the wonder of life, with a feeling of the incredible marvel of being a human being. The music is never the same for me, never. Each day it is something new, fantastic and unbelievable….