Q & A
(On hearing a performance of Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40, by Richard Strauss)
Q: Do notes have lives?
Do words become
moments of music? A: Yes! As in Strauss -
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
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.