She appears suddenly, soon swept away by the camera, behind the violoncellists. Even at a live concert, he has difficulties in seeing her more than fleetingly. Yet he knows her face, a medieval beauty, inspired, aloof, as if out of a distant past. He basked in the symphonic beauty, Tchaikovsky, Alban Berg, Mahler… She’s there, not all the time, over the years she appears not to have changed much. Is she a spirit? Is she the soul of the orchestra? When did he notice her first?
Lost in a dream, he listens, enthralled, expecting an angel to appear.
For some days I have been deep in Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves, perhaps one of the most daunting reads of the past decade. I intend to review the novel on my Goodreads page, but for now, suffice to say that sounds have a role in that astounding saga of the end, and rebirth, of mankind. Space is silent, but not those tiny cramped tins, where survivors hide waiting for death… And then…
The source of the dappled light, as she now saw, was sunlight sparkling from waves on the lake below, shooting rays through the branches of trees, perhaps a hundred meters down the slope from her, that were beginning to stir in the morning breeze, making soft noises, as when a sleeping lover exhales.
The light of the sun, the sound of waves, violin notes in the evening air… The symphony of Peace.
Image: “Seveneves: the end and beginning of life on Earth”, The Seattle Times
From the crazy crowd
She asked: “Do you think the City is less sexy in winter?”
This made me smile. All the way to Frannz Club in Prenzlauer Berg, I reflected on what my lover said. Later, immersed in Erik Truffaz’ amazing trumpet, I had the answer. If anything the City is more captivating, as the light declines: more secrets come to the fore, less nudity, and more soul. Dark jackets and woollen scarves may hide the skin, but, ah, the search for a hint, a blink, a smile…
“You may be right,” she finally declared, “But that is because you rearrange the world to suit your dreams…” Yes, how true this is. Where else could we accommodate, not merely our dreams, but also those of others, mysteriously readable to us, as dead leaves rush past our steps, and Erik’ tunes still resonate in our hearts.
The City holds us, and won’t let go: street by street, note by note, we learn her language, as her silent words float through the cool night air, one beautiful face at a time. Ghosts, strangers, they become us, and us them.
Image: Erik Truffaz, By Xpeeterx – Own work http://www.flickr.com/photos/peter_es/4454478410/, CC BY 3.0, Link
After ten days in Brexland, now a country of much baffled confusion, but, for us, a land of many friends and memories, we took the road back home. Since September, the trees have changed colour, and a cool East wind blows through the wooded vales, across the lakes and through the busy streets. Berliners know how to dress for a chill (the real thing is still to come), no shorts and T-shirts here, but stern pullovers and good parkas.
So, we will gear up for our first Berlin winter, the new opera season, cool jazz, good films, art and joie de vivre. The bikes will be serviced, the car garaged. Soon we’ll back to the gym and the morning jogs in Schiller Park.
Bless the city of Faust.
Photo: Joseph Beuys, das Kapital Raum, 1980 – Staatliche Museum zu Berlin, National Galerie, Sammlung Marx
Sanctus is one of the beautiful tracks that make up Jan Garbarek’s Officium recorded in 1994 with ECM. It’s one of the most haunting modern Jazz records, and Sanctus is a very special piece. The mix of Gregorian chants and Sax is just amazing.
I play this track in the evening when I am at home, light off, and meditating (as one does), or, when I am really active, after a climb in the mountains, as then is the time when I want to feel closer to our Creator.
Jan Garbarek is a magician, and Officium is a masterpiece. For Jazz and Spirituals lovers, as well as medievalists among us, it’s the ticket!
Musing and listening as I #amwriting…
“… but for me the music is just another way of shutting the door. It surrounds me, keeps the mundane world out… When you’re writing, you’re creating your own worlds.”
Stephen King: On Writing