Death has invaded my life. Some five years ago, a friend died. He was younger than I was. A little over a year ago, another friend died. He too was younger than I was. A few days ago, a friend’s father died. Death has crossed a threshold and left the sphere of the abstract, it rippled the peaceful flow of my life. I am not afraid, no. But my awareness of my own mortality has increased. For the first time, thinking about man’s mortality kept me from sleeping. The dead are no longer the anonymous victims of far away wars, natural disasters, car accidents or social precariousness. The dead have a face now, a familiar face and a familiar voice.
Herr: Es ist Zeit. Der Sommer war sehr groß.
Leg deinen Schatten auf die Sonnenuhren,
und auf den Fluren lass die Winde los.
Befiehl den letzten Früchten, voll zu sein;
gib ihnen noch zwei südlichere Tage,
dränge sie zur Vollendung hin, und jage
die letzte Süße in den schweren Wein.
Wer jetzt kein Haus hat, baut sich keines mehr.
Wer jetzt allein ist, wird es lange bleiben,
wird wachen, lesen, lange Briefe schreiben
und wird in den Alleen hin und her
unruhig wandern, wenn die Blätter treiben.1
It’s raining outside. While we did not have enough rain in June and July, nature seems to catch up now. The climate is changing. We are experiencing weather extremes: droughts, floods. Resignation. I can do my best to reduce my carbon footprint, but sometimes it feels so pointless. A disheartening feeling, difficult to suppress. It takes a real effort to convince myself over and over again: Every step counts. Every step counts. Let’s not loose hope.
“Sonnez cors et trompettes!” (Sound the horns and trumpets). This French expression came to my mind when I listened to Johannes Brahms Serenade No. 1 in D, Op. 11, especially to the jubilant first movement. It has been recorded by the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, back to back with Schumann’s Cello Concerto that I have presented in a post two days ago. I never had really cared to listen to Brahms’ serenade in D consciously before I began to study Schumann’s piece. An omission I later regretted! Because… because it is incredibly beautiful, rich, melodious – very much a reverence to Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. It displays an overall sunny, optimistic mood, a piece that requires no effort to listen to and has no deeper meaning thant to give the audience 55 minutes of pleasure.