Seeking freedom, independence, identity

Isolation (1)
Isolation. © Charles Thibo

Infinite solitude. A certain reluctance to live an adult life. The man is 22, his professional future uncertain, there’s trouble at home. A father-son thing. He spends the summer away from Vienna, traveling with a friend, a baritone singer. He needs time to think, time to consider his options, time to take a step back and sort out all those conflicting emotions. He loves his family, but his family doesn’t seem to understand him.

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A milestone in Schubert’s personal development

Kitsch, no doubt. © Charles Thibo

Be yourself, be authentic – any personal coach will tell you this is the road to success. Being authentic – and I looked this up in a respectable dictionary – means “true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character” by expressing one’s core beliefs at all times. Let’s have a closer look at this: Firstly you need to have core beliefs and secondly both you and the people around you are aware of these. It postulates the existence of a personal norm against which your behaviour is judged as deviant or not. Once you overdo it in one or another direction, you become a fake, possibly an impostor or a liar. If a Romantic composer exaggerated the emotional aspect of its musical language, his music would be deemed “kitsch”. The ultimate verdict!

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Lavishly lyrical music for a cocktail party

Late night music. © Charles Thibo

Schubert swings. It is late at night, darkness surronds the house, occasionally a car drives by. The house however is fully lit, there is a cocktail party going on. People are standing around, Daiquiris and Lynchburg Lemonades in their hands, chatting about politics, arts, everyday matters and exchanging the latest gossip. A trio has been brought in to delight the guests with unobtrusive music. When the musicians start to play the first bars of Schubert’s Piano Trio in B flat (Op. 99, D.898), the chatting dies down. People look at each other, surprised, whispering: “What’s that?” An elderly couple takes the initiative and engages in a slow dance.

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Hop on Schubert’s musical merry-go-around

Feel the endorphines! © Charles Thibo

Around and around and around – this symphony is like a never-ending dance. Not that you want it to end! The melodies lock themselves in your head, the rhythms take control over your body, you swirl around and when the music stops, you feel happy and dizzy, a little breathless perhaps, but you are hooked on the endorphins and you just want to start all over again: Franz Schubert’s Symphony No. 6 in C major, D. 589, which goes by the nickname “The Little” even though Schubert initially gave it the name “The Great”. But the composer later wrote an even greater symphony in C major: Symphony No. 9, D. 944, that I have presented in a post in January this year.

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