She was a dreamy kind of person. And when melancholy wrapped her in a silk blanket, she would sit down at her desk, take an empty score out of the drawer, look out at the window, with questions suspended in the air: Why? How? What next? And occasionally Fanny Mendelssohn would compose a piece of music capturing her dreams, her musings, here longings and her hopes such as those recorded by the Luxembourg pianist Béatrice Rauchs in 1997. Five pieces come from Fanny’s unpublished material, compiled under the manuscript number MA ms. 44, one has been published as part of her op. 2.
Just one movement. So promising. Like the dawn announcing a beautiful day. Unfinished business? No. Camille de Saint-Saëns cast his first violin concerto in A major (op. 22) in a single short movement of some 15 minutes, and if you have a closer look at the score, you may be able to identify three distinct sections. And as much as I hate to admit it, researching the background of this piece has proved rather difficult.
You will perhaps recall a post about Camille de Saint-Saëns’ Quartet for Piano, Violin, Viol and Cello in E Major and the tender melancholy that befalls me whenever I am leaving Paris by train. Crossing the Gare de l’Est, having one last coffee at the brasserie, buying one last book at the bookstore, hurrying to the platform, announced at the last possible moment – no matter how long I have stayed in Paris, it always feels like I leave too early.
A striking picture, isn’t it? Dead wood – a finger pointing at the sky? Two arms raised above the head – in desperation? A skeleton? I got all kind of crazy ideas when I saw this dead tree during a walk not too far from home. It was about the time I spent a lot of time listening to works from the Swiss-American composer Ernest Bloch (1880-1959), and when I listened to his Sonata for Piano and Cello, written in 1897, I knew right away which picture to pick as an illustration for this post. As for the reasons, I don’t quite know myself. It was just like: It has to be this picture or no one!