Right behind my house, there is a butterfly bush, a Buddleja. It is huge. And in a few weeks, it will be full of butterflies, like last year. I can sit there for hours and do nothing but watch the sky and the butterflies. There are about eight or nine different types: small tortoiseshells, peacocks, emperor moths, small whites etc. They flutter from blossom to blossom and live a happy, albeit short life. Robert Schumann’s opus 2 is a lovely cycle of poems called “Papillons” (butterflies). When the sun shines upon my face, and when I listen to these pieces with my eyes closed, I can see the butterflies dance in the air. So nice.
Balance. Johannes Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D Major, op. 77 is perfectly balanced. Solo parts and orchestral parts. Elegance and vigour. Joy and exasperation. Tranquility and loudness. Zen-like flows and fast paced accents. You know how excited I get each time I listen to Beethoven’s Violin Concerto (op. 61). It was written in D major too, but 72 years earlier (1806). Brahms’ only violin concerto brings me close to that state of mind. And I heard it yesterday at the Philharmonie de Luxembourg, performed by Leonidas Kavakos and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg. It was fantastic!
A warm spring day. A sky as blue as you can imagine it. Close your eyes. Can you feel that breeze, light as a feather? The sun is bathing your face. Can you feel it? Clouds. Shadows. Dark, light, dark, light. The clouds are passing by. The first movement is called a “Barcarole”, and that term usually denotes a song sung by the Venetian gondoliers with an accompaniment suggesting the rocking of the gondola on the water. Lean back, drift away! Alpha and Theta waves are traveling trough your brain and make you dream like in a daydream.
It is hard to imagine, but yes, it is true: Pyotr Tchaikovsky could not stand the sound of a violin or cello accompanied with a piano! Can you believe that? All those trios written by Mozart, Haydn or Schubert, and here comes Tchaikovsky and says: I don’t like it, it sounds awkward. In a letter to his patron, Nadezhda von Meck, dated 18 October 1880 he justifies himself after she had teased him why he had not written a trio when she would hear so many of them in Florence, where she stayed in autumn 1880.