Schubert. An early work. The composer’s first string quartet ever! Interesting dynamics, changing keys, a main theme developed in several steps – a young man is searching his way to express himself, not afraid to make errors, keen to try stuff that’s not in the books. If Franz Schubert’s String Quartet No. 1 (D 18) lacks thematic coherence, it has an abundance of surprises and remarkable Romantic passages.
Suddenly my mind was clear like a crystal. From one second to the next I felt like I could penetrate any mystery of the world and solve it. That of course is an illusion, but I felt an enthusiasm for intellectual challenges that I had missed in the days and hours preceding this moment. It started with a post I wrote, the one about Franz Schubert’s Piano Sonata No. 20 in A major. I felt energized, wide awake even though it was just past midnight.
At the time I am writing this post I am experiencing a drought. It hasn’t rained for over two weeks, average day-time temperatures were above 20 °C. I see the grass turning brown, the flowers fading quickly. We have three 500-liter-water-cisterns and the day I am writing this, I siphoned the last drops to water the vegetables in our green house. Whatever you may believe, climate change is real. I have been living in this place now for 12 years and observed our garden closely over that time. I recognize climate change when I see it. Two weeks ago already the World Meteorological Organization issued a Climate Watch Advisory stating that “this drought may be accompanied by water scarcity, local thunderstorms, risks of wildfires and harvest losses.”
Whenever I go for a walk in the woods, I bring back at least a couple of pictures I label “natural beauty”. The grass above grows on an Alpine mountain in Austria and it struck me by its symmetry, its delicate aspect and its actual robustness. The afternoon sun’s reflection on its polished straws gave it a kind of shimmering halo – truly beautiful. These attributes match a work written by Franz Schubert towards the end of his career, in December 1827, eleven months before his death: the Fantasy for Violin and Piano in C major, Op. 159 D. 934.