The beautiful days. The beautiful days are not gone. Despite the acid I spread on Friday. The beautiful days are happening right now. If we allow them to happen. The day before I was writing this post the roof of one of the landmarks of Paris was destroyed by a fire: the Cathédrale de Notre-Dame. A terrible loss. But the day I wrote this post, I rose with the sun, I didn’t have to work, the house was calm and I enjoyed a beautiful sight out of the kitchen window as the vineyards are coming to life. The beautiful days are whenever we want to make them happen.
“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.
Today the finale of the project: Maurice Ravel’s String Quartet in F Major. Around lunchtime I drive home. I have time. I take time to watch the fields I drive by once I have left the city. Fertile land. Less herbicides than in the past. Every year I have the impression the plots with wildflowers become more numerous. I like that. I love to see the golden grain, the red poppies, the blue cornflowers and the white chamomile. Harmony, serenity, beauty – it’s all there. And it’s in Ravel’s music.
Today, I will try something new: Over a week I will present three works from three different composers, recorded by one single ensemble and compiled on one single album. Three quartets, magnificently performed by the French Quatuor Ebène. The idea to group these posts sprang from the parallels between the pieces and the parallels between the pictures I matched to the posts. I discovered this album a year ago and immediately fell in love with all three quartets.