tabula rasa

“Pärt likes bells, literally and figuratively in his music. He also likes space and silence.”

shack montana

“Part of Pärt’s breakthrough, Layton says, came from hearing just three notes in a supermarket.”

“Over the public address system one hears the sound ‘doo, doo doo’ — Layton sings three descending tones — ‘Could so-and-so please go to till No. 25?’ Now that sound is called a triad in music, but it’s actually the building block of all music in the Western world.”

leaf closeup

“Pärt realized the beautiful simplicity of the triad and ran with it. He called his newfound style ‘tintinnabuli,’ a word referring to little tinkling bells. Another ingredient in the recipe is silence.”

Going to the sun road Glacier NP

“On the one hand, silence is like fertile soil, which, as it were, awaits our creative act, our seed. On the other hand, silence must be approached with a feeling of awe.” — Arvo Pärt

–Adapted from The Silence and Awe of Arvo Part, NPR


the sublime

flower tote

“Beethoven is not only about suffering — it’s about many emotions, true happiness and ecstasy.”

Arrival at Temple after Pilgrimmage

“It’s not true that someone has to have been through extreme emotions to play the music, but you have to be able to sympathize and have empathy with the emotions. If I play a piece of Chopin or Schumann, it’s a one-to-one confession all the time, but with Beethoven, the slow movements are not so much a confession but more a kind of preaching. He has a bigger message about humanity. Earlier, I didn’t really understand and appreciate that expression.”
~Leif Ove Andsnes

Penitence -- Pilgrim in Tibet

“In a case like Schubert, who died at 31, he had enough sorrow for a lifetime. There is something about the subtext of his music — people say you have to suffer a little more.”
~Jeremy Denk

Rose sheet music

“Musicians often state that they should wait until they ‘have something to say’ before tackling pieces like Bach’s ‘Goldberg Variations’ or late Beethoven or Schubert, although for the pianist Richard Goode the phrase ‘having something to say’ suggests ‘an act of will — something extrinsic to a genuine involvement,’ he said.”
~Viven Schweitzer, Adapted from “Wait, You Need to Suffer Some More”

Prayer Flags in Tibet

“Which master managed, as Beethoven did in his late music, to weld together present, past and future, the sublime and the profane?”
~Alfred Brendel

horizon from plane

daphnis et chloe

“A meadow at the edge of a sacred wood. In the background, hills.”

Honduras countryside

“The earth opens. The fearsome shadow of Pan is outlined on the hills in the background, making a threatening gesture. Everyone flees in horror.”

Cracks in ice

“Suddenly the air seems laden with a strange feeling; small fires are lighted by invisible hands.”

water from fountain

“At daybreak bird-songs are heard, shepherds arrive to find Daphnis and waken him. Chloe is brought to him. They embrace, and then together mime the legend of Pan and Syrinx.”

daybreak yellow flowers


beethoven’s seventh

Studying for my Repertoire and Listening final and rediscovering this long-loved treasure. I grew up listening to this piece but these days there’s something fresh and new about it…

“The theme of the second movement is mind-blowing—one single flat-line pitch: bummm bum-bum bummm bummm, bummm bum-bum bummm bummm… Finally a couple of new notes, then more monotone. But not monotonous.”

“[Beethoven]…seems to be driving at dramatic conflicts and triumphs on a scale which threatens the stability of planetary orbits.”

— Paul Johnston, Artist-Lecturer, Carnegie Mellon University