A man in love. A man mourning his deceased wife. Paul and Marie. Paul has transformed his house into a shrine with pictures and other souvenirs of Marie and is completely absorbed by his memories of her. Frank, Paul’s friend, tries to reason with his him, to make him overcome his sorrow – and fails. Paul feels erotically attracted to another woman, the dancer Marietta, which he confuses with Marie, at the same time he feels guilt. Then his fantasies take control of him, and he sees the ghost of Marie stepping out of her portrait and he believes that a song sung by Marietta is actually performed by Marie.
Patience is required. We have boarded the plane, the doors are closed, seat belts are fastened and we are waiting. The clearance to start the engines and to taxi to the runway still has to be given. My golden rule: Whenever I get on a plane, I always take a book with me to pass time once we have reached cruising altitude. And for the minutes the plane needs to taxi, take off and climb through the clouds, I always, always have some music on my iPhone. When I flew to Amsterdam lately, my choice fell on Robert Schumann’s Schumann Andante and Variations in B flat minor, Op. 46.
A night in Naples, the moon is rising over the volcano Vesuvio, straight out of the crater, and Fanny Mendelssohn and her husband Wilhelm Hensel enjoy a romantic moment on the balcony of the house they occupy. Spring 1840: Fanny had rented a piano and her inspiration knew no limits. She composed as she had already done earlier when the Hensels had still been in Rome, an uninterrupted flow of beautiful melodies, set free by the liberty she enjoined far away from her home in Berlin. O fortuna velut luna…
Oben, wo die Sterne glühen,
Müssen uns die Freuden blühen,
Die uns unten sind versagt;
In des Todes kalten Armen
Kann das Leben erst erwarmen,
Und das Licht der Nacht enttagt.1