Saturday, March 9, 2013


In my previous post, I mentioned the "Cavatina" movement from Beethoven's string quartet No. 13 in Bb Opus 130, as performed by the Emerson String Quartet.

I cannot just mention it though.  I listened to this most celebrated, most intimate, most holy music again after my previous post, and I don’t mind saying that I cried like a child.

This movement is a spacious contemplation of the point of it all.   But it is what happens after the fire and the fury.  After our impassioned “Why?!!” has run its course.  After the drunkenness has begun to fade.

It is the clear-eyed moment right before dawn.

The middle portion of the piece, which begins at the 2:22 mark (once again, as performed by the Emerson quartet here) is the center.  The sublime.    It is the moment when the ALL, of which I am an infinitesimally small part, touches my arm and says, in the words of Julian of Norwich, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”

The speaking continues,  “Remember.   This life, this existence, this creation, this crucible - of pain, of sorrow, of awe, of joy, of terror and of beauty -  this crucible of creation is the one we chose - do you remember?  We chose it.  We created it.  We wanted to forget, for a while, and therefore to really live."

"But all will be well."

And at the 2:50 mark this still, small voice then swells in glory - a tiny peek through the veil.

And then, in utter generosity,  at the 3:22 mark these reminding phrases are repeated again, in different voicing - another reminder of the variety in the unity - the choice of creation.  

And one last peak at 3:50.  One last peek for now.

Then we are gently led back.  Back to a moment of rest before this life beings anew.

But remember.   All will be well.

Cheese Doodles and Beethoven


When cheese doodles leads to a moment of pure bliss!

From the amazing Radiolab episode:

"On day 86 of a 3-month trek to and from the South Pole, adventurer Aleksander Gamme discovered something he'd stashed (and forgotten) under the ice at the start of his trip (3 months earlier). He wasn't expecting such a rush of happiness in that cold..."

And now!

Please listen to the "Alla Dansa Tedesca" and "Cavatina" movements from Beethoven's string quartet No. 13 in Bb Opus 130.  I like the Emerson String Quartet’s performance (as usual!).  These ten minutes of music are just a slice from Beethoven’s mesmerizing late quartets.

The first time you hear it, it is quite beautiful. By the 5th or 6th time it sounds like the music that should play at the end of the world.