To celebrate Beethoven's 250th jubileum the Berlin Philharmoniker has offered its Digital Concert Hall public a delightful voyage of discovery through the composer's chamber music works. In four parts, this extraordinary musical adventure takes us from early works for winds ensembles to the early, middle and late periods of Beethoven's string quartets. For many of … Continue reading Beethoven in close-up: art of the fugue
A very quiet place…
It’s a hidden place, not hidden from view, for it is in full view, anyone walking past can see it. But, perhaps, not look at it. So, for us, it is close to perfection: an urban corner unlikely to be disturbed by developers and other real estate thieves… A very quiet place, for those, like us, who like roaming at night, past doors long forgotten, climbing silently strange stairways no longer fit for humans…
“Perhaps he would have to become D?”
On Reformation Day he reflected on the times, the church’s door in Wittenberg, the theses, the peasants revolts, the rivalries, the spies, and yet, the hopes. Lost in the pages were smaller stories: people’s own struggles, love, and death. How he associated D with those times is hard to tell. He had not thought that much about her in recent years, but she was not totally forgotten. Walking in the pale light of October, his steps muffled by the thick layer of dead leaves, he must have recalled other autumns, other storms, and tried to invoke her supple form.
He saw her at first as his alter ego, the sister he never had. She was wise, she had lived many lives, she knew about rites long forgotten. As he wanted to write about her, he sought the right places, the right times. He discovered Q, the long story of…
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She sees the colours, feels the warm air on her skin.
“Where,” she thought, “where shall I meet you, where for our next date, my dear, so dear love?”
There is no light, darkness reigns, but she knows a place, deep in her memories, the rose garden, in late Spring, the fragrance of the blooms, the humming of the bees. She remembers, she can evoke the place, the time, his face. She sees the colours, feels the warm air on her skin.
She has to be strong, retrace her steps, and his. The monsters are building hell on earth, but she knows where Paradise lies, deep, deep in her heart. Untouchable, safe, as he will be, when they meet again, in the rose garden.
I sat back, and reflected.
“It’s a puzzle,” I said as we looked up the victorian wall. “There was something there, before, and the artist…” But I realised my companion was not listening, rather he was looking closely at the colours, and delicately taking small samples of the paint he carefully saved in an envelop. “I wish I could take a picture…” Holmes said finally. “I am sure this has been copied from somewhere.”
Later, at no 221B, as we lit our pipes after dinner, Holmes suddenly declared:
“You were right, Watson, it’s an allegory, and of course you have recognised the pavots, your “artist” is a drug dealer, who advertises his ware locally, and the allegory is about the Nirvana of the opium smoker…”
I sat back, and reflected.
Even the barren trees were part of us, a befitting reminder of the winter of our souls.
“So we are back”, you said in a tone of voice void of emotions. But I knew better: “back” meant we had failed, together, to adapt to a different life, to create the new, to be reborn. Yet this was our home, the naked ground where we belonged. Even the barren trees were part of us, a befitting reminder of the winter of our souls.
“We’ll find a ruin somewhere, do it up, settle down…” I added, hopeful.
“I love those clouds, and then I am here, still, with you!” You replied with a smile, “I thought we should never regret a failure, the important thing, was to have tried.”
“I knew you would understand,” I said, fixing you, as you were reaching for my hand, “Together we are strong, as strong as ever.”
The geography is immense
“Jesus is the masterpiece. The thieves are minor works. Why are they there? Not to frame the crucifixion, as some innocent souls believe, but to hide it.”
“Now what sea is this you have crossed, exactly, and what sea is it you have plunged more than once to the bottom of, alerted, full of adrenalin, but caught really, buffaloed under the epistemologies of these threats that paranoid you so down and out, caught in this steel pot, softening to devitaminized mush inside the soup stock of your own words?”
The geography is immense, as the novel meanders through the streets of Paris, Madrid, London or Milan, the ruins of Cologne after the war, the snows of the Austrian border, Venice, Hamburg, the Crimean peninsula, the dark forests of Rumania, Mexico City, and, inevitably, Santa Teresa, the industrious and sinister city in the Sonora desert, still vibrating from the…
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Soon we would need to feed, even if soberly.
“They are swarming, soon they will fly away toward those trees…” I said, “And disappear beyond those clouds…” you replied. It was the end of the long day, we would soon pack for the night, fold the tent, get ready for the hunt. Soon we would need to feed, even if soberly. Your green eyes turned to me. I could see the signs on your skin. I drew the sharp blade, it glittered in the dying light.
We heard an owl. The starlings had disappeared, as you predicted. “I am thirsty.” You said. A small cut would suffice. As you enlaced me, your arms around my neck, I saw the red of your beloved lips, felt the despair in your embrace. I held you tight, and as you drank, became as one with the monster in you.
And if it were alive, then… was it alone?
We stood silent, and felt the temperature rise a little, as morning light reflected on the monolith. We moved a little closer, you held my hand tighter. Was that a shimmer on the surface of the rock?
“It’s alive, and it has sensed us”, you said very low. “It knows we are here, perhaps even who we are.” The ground was still frozen, except for a circle around the stone. “See the markings: it’s a sentinel…”
More stones were buried deep, all over the moor. Was this an ancient ritual site, or the remnants of an even older battlefield? If this was a sentinel, was it still signalling to anyone? And who were they?
Was it still talking to its masters? And if it were alive, then… was it alone?
Once we walked along this shore, through these dunes, you and I, hand in hand, when the world was young…
Once we walked along this shore, through these dunes, you and I, hand in hand, when the world was young.
Now, our children stand tall and strong, and they and their mates look just like us, as we were.
So you see, dear love, despite all the mistakes, sometime the doubts, we saw through our future with much clarity, as the waves told us we would, once, there, along this shore, long ago.