There’s a German novel that had a deep impression on me. After I had read it, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep. I felt like throwing up and at the same time I felt having learned something essential about myself. In 1927, Hermann Hesse wrote the novel “Steppenwolf”. Hesse reflected a personal crisis and focused on the subjects of loneliness, man’s wolfish instincts and his desire to be a noble, educated being. The main character experiences a catharsis in a “magical theater”, where he learns to see and accepts his conflicting character traits.
Longing – a powerful feeling. Almost as powerful as love or fear. The unholy trinity: Not being able to love. Longing for somebody’s love. Fear of losing somebody’s love. When I was younger, I became an expert in the discipline of longing. But as time went by, I became (a little) wiser and learned to be happy with the present rather than longing for the past or hoping for a better future.
Order. Disorder. Order within disorder. Structure versus randomness. Progress and aesthetics. Where are we heading to? Tenderness, a sad tenderness tiptoeing through the room. Gathering speed, growing stronger – dynamics! Then, silence. A nervous pulse, an attempt to get it right. Dark persuasion, balanced by a single voice, clear and forceful. The listener is clueless. Another hint: the name. Fanfares. By whom? For whom? But isn’t the king naked? A faltering message. A summer day after a thunderstorm, puddles on the road, a black sky in the east, a rainbow. Can you paint a rainbow with sound? Definitely. A trip. Darkness, anxiety. Is the traveler doomed? Why Warsaw?
Work and home – two busy and challenging places. Five days a week I switch roles around lunch time. I work half time. One half I spent at the office, the other with my daughter… and the household. The jump between these two worlds is tiring and sapping my strength at times. The time it takes to drive from the office back home is the time where I try to clear my mind, get ready for that other world I am about to jump into. Music helps. Inspiring, energizing music like Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio Espagnol, Op. 34, recorded by the Berliner Philharmoniker under Lorin Maazel.