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Q & A

(On hearing a performance of Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40, by Richard Strauss)

Q: Do notes have lives?

Do words become

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moments of music? A: Yes! As in Strauss -

allegro now

out of his stave-strewn consciousness,

along the strings and woodwinds, hear

the gold and crimson

of opposing motifs surge, surge and collide

in hushed explosions here to startle the brass

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and - bold within the percussion -

then to end

their paradox of meanings in a

blaze of sound ...

to make war obsolete! Q: But what's this peace cupped in the listening hands? A: It's not what mirrors man: it's what

resonates within him.

This peace is made of cries too soft for you

to ignore. You make a pact

to hear, to touch new meaning in

the tone of forgive....

This moment of its music in you spans

the space between the motive and the act. Q: Comrade, why do you write? A: "Friend, why do you live?"1 1 The reply of Andrei Voznesensky, a Russian poet, to a questioner after a reading.