Tension. At one moment deeply relaxed, anxious at another. Enjoying the day, apprehensive about tomorrow. In 1914 Maurice Ravel wrote his Piano Trio in A Minor (M. 67). He dedicated it to his counterpoint teacher André Gédalge, the trio was first performed in Paris in January 1915. He had been mulling the idea of a trio for years, but he was spurred by the tense political situation in the summer of 1914. War was in the air and Ravel wanted to enlist in the army.
I am no good at botany, so I won’t be able to tell you the name of the flower in the picture. It grows in Giverny, in the former garden of the Impressionist painter Claude Monet. That’s where I saw it right after a short rain shower, in all its splendour, its mysterious aura. Now listen to Gabriel Fauré’s Piano Quintet No. 1 in D Minor, op. 89. Perhaps you will fall under its spell like I did with Fauré’s work. Like I did with Monet’s garden.
“Immersion into a world without outlines, without horizons” – a note by myself to myself I scribbled down when I contemplated Claude Monet’s masterwork series “Nymphéas” (waterlilies). I had seen these vast paintings for the first time as a student while I visited Paris, some 25 years ago. I’ve seen them again a few months ago, when I took my daughter to the Musée de l’Orangerie to see one of my favourite works of my favourite painter. At the beginning of the 20th century, the French Impressionist painter painted some 250 works with the lilies he had in his garden in Giverny as the central theme.
Something new, definitely. A premiere for me. Interesting, stimulating. It made me reflect my expectations. It immediately connected to my emotions. I felt there was a message, but initially I saw only the outlines, the details needed time to become visible. A piece growing organically out of itself. Harsh contrasts, gentle melodies, progression… Henri Dutilleux’ orchestral piece “Métaboles”, that I heard yesterday at the Philharmonie de Luxembourg, was a pleasant surprise.