I was listening to Leonard Bernstein conducting Brahms’s Haydn variations. I said to my nearest and dearest, as the seventh variation commenced, ‘Listen to this!’ and she said, ‘I’m listening,’ before leaving the room. This music is bordering on the unbearable for me, just full of the most intense feeling. I don’t have the words to describe what it does to me. Brahms’s orchestrational technique, as well as his ridiculously encompassing harmonic imagination, wreck me every bloody time.
So I’ll admit it: music makes me cry. Silly maybe, but true. The recap in the first movement of Carl Nielsen’s first symphony. The end of ‘Fecit potentiam’ (an actual ii chord!) in J. S. Bach’s Magnificat. ‘Baba the Turk is here!’ from Igor Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress. The Passacaglia in Josef Rheinberger’s eighth 0rgan sonata. Richard Strauss’s Four last songs (of course). I’ve spoken about it with close friends, some of whom are similarly fragile, and we’ve talked about the pieces that undo us, the means by which we feel ourselves to be undone, and all the rest of it. Even my beautiful GP is in the picture about this.
The physical implications of music are, for me, part of what it’s all about. A big part. I watch Carlos Kleiber conducting, and he is so. not. just. beating time. The physical as emotional, if that makes sense, is the business at hand.
Oh, là là. Does music do something to you that you can’t quite describe? If so, tick here. And please, if you will, tell me about it.