I remember the moment I decided to write this post in every detail. A year ago on a free afternoon I was driving home and shortly before I would pass the speed radar I focused for the split of a second on those golden trees at the roadside against the blue sky – royal colours. I was listening to Camille de Saint-Saëns’ Symphony in A major – a majestic sound. I stopped the car, got out and shot that picture. It was a warm, sunny day, a light breeze made the leaves rattle, the road was empty. I went back to the car, sat on the driver’s seat, the door open, and listened to that beautiful music. I was in no hurry and enjoyed a magic moment. Happiness.
One can debate whether it is legitimate to do what I did with Bela Bartok lately. I mean, offering my personal thoughts and feelings triggered by Bartok String Quartet No. 5 as an interpretation of a piece of music. I love to debate and I have the wisdom of Umberto Eco on my side. Come on, challenge me! No? Then I shall do it again. With another piece, Camille de Saint-Saëns’ Sonata for Cello and Piano No. 1 in C minor, Op. 32, written in 1872. I suggest you enjoy the recording by Stephen Isserlis (cello) and Pascal Devoyon (piano).
I got the idea to write this post half a year ago, when I boarded the train from Paris to Luxembourg. After a short business trip (an excellent excuse to book a ticket at the Opéra Garnier and enjoy Aribert Reimann’s “Lear”), I was sorry to leave. Paris has fascinated me since my first weekend escapes to Paris when I was a student. A friend of mine living in Paris regularly travelled to Munich to see her boyfriend and I was free to use her apartment for two or three days. I would hop on the night train and Paris was mine! So when I boarded the TGV in June this year, I picked a lovely piece of chamber music as a farewell melody. In 1853, Camille de Saint Saëns wrote his Quartet for Piano, Violin, Viol and Cello in E major. Good-bye Paris then, good-bye 2016 now.
This music is a promise. This music will be exciting. For good or for worse? It is up to you to discover that. You will read into this music whatever you like. Perhaps your biggest emotional impression will be the beginning first movement, a joyful and yet solemn violin tune with the other strings providing the dark canvas so that the soloist can shine. Is this day going to warrant your unbound optimism? Perhaps you will rather like the parts of the second movement where the harpist suggests a slowly floating something. Will this day satisfy your romantic longing? Or you will go for the Beethoven-like competition between the soloist and the orchestra in the third movement? Are you in the middle of a struggle and want to break free?