Monday, June 25, 2007

The rest is noise, too.

The following comment is by Stravinsky discussing the first movement of Beethoven's 5th Symphony.

"The most remarkable aspect of the movement . . . is the rhythmic. The irregular durations are confined to the unsounding music, the varying-in-length silences." (NYRB, Oct. 22, 1970)

My current searchings through silence (musical, Quakerly, public, private) have, indeed, varied in length lately. A much looked-forward-to long weekend in the Woodstock home of my friends Abbe and Holly and their two boys, was cut (very) short by a last minute call to play solo oboe on Swan Lake with ABT. (With all the Proust in my life recently, I was about to type: Swann's Lake.) I'm often happiest when working, but now back in the city, I really miss the quality of homey quiet there in the woods, especially in the morning before the boys (or the moms) awoke. If there is a place with access to the "still small voice," that certainly is one.

I live in a quiet part of Manhattan, West 106th Street. I'm lucky in this. I am on the top floor in the back and share no walls in the building. I often wake up to the sounds of birds singing. So on this beautiful summer morning in New York City, I'm trying to recreate my Woodstock idyll before heading out into the race.

I have the birds and the breeze, and I am so grateful to have the unsounding music of a sleeping family still fresh in my ears and heart.

No comments: