Fear – that would be too strong a word. Reluctance, yes, that describes it better. I feel an intense reluctance to listen to works of certain composers, to expose myself to their music despite my curiosity. What exactly do I expect? Being disappointed by music that may seem boring? Being horrified by dissonant sounds hurting my eardrums? I don’t quite know, but what I know is that once I summon my courage to explore the music of one of these composers, I usually do not have to confront disappointment or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Art nurturing art – glorious moments. In 1890 Johannes Brahms heard the German clarinetist Richard Mühlfeld, widely acclaimed for his musical sensitivity and his expressive way to play his instrument. The composer was deeply impressed by Mühlfeld’s talent. Mühlfeld had suggested to Brahms to write a piece of chamber music for the clarinet and the composer gladly took up the idea. Inspiration had struck. Between May and June 1891 he wrote the Trio in A minor for piano, clarinet and cello (Op. 114) while spending the summer in the Austrian resort of Ischl.
Wanderlust. Haven’t we had that before? A recurrent theme in music, a recurrent theme in my posts, in my life. Transcending the daily routine, acceding to new knowledge, meeting new faces… Or going back in time, revisiting my younger me, traveling back into the times of my favourite composers… I can do all that by writing. Writing letters, posts, occasionally poems – what an extraordinary freedom I enjoy!
Composing a fugue – I imagine an architect building a tower. A tower with a solid base. I imagine a fearless architect putting one building block upon the next until the tower reaches a vertiginous height. I imagine an ambitious architect decorating the tower with elaborate artwork. The master architect of fugues was Johann Sebastian Bach. Nobody succeeded in building a higher tower, nobody devised more artful decorations without falling into the trap of cheap effects.