What are Great Moments ?


Berthe Morisot

When I am listening to music, looking at a painting or a sculpture or reading a book, I know instantaneously that something is happening to me, a kind of flash. Sometimes a memory of an event in the past, sometimes a memory of a friend, but often an indistinct feeling of happiness, of “je ne sais quoi” or even of melancholy. These moments make a deep impression, I never forget. I don’t know if they are influencing my daily life. But I do know they are remaining in my memory and in my thoughts. They can change with time, mood, ageing or personal development. They never fall out of favour.

For instance, when at the age of twelve first reading Tolstoy’s War and Peace, I looked at Pierre and Andrei as grown-up men. Young, my greatest admiration was for Pierre with his more deviating way of life. Older, I appreciated more Andrei’s social attitude. Yet each time I reread the novel, I feel involved with both and with Natasha of course.

The same, in some other way, is happening with music like the first time I heard Beethoven’s Eroica on a small recorder or the Violin Concerto by Yehudi Menuhin live.


Wilhelm Lehmbruck

Or when I am looking at a sculpture by Lehmbruck or a painting by Malevich or a .
Earlier I always tried to understand why some works had such an effect on me. Nowadays, I am just happy with the old familiar memories and the future, not yet known, events. They are like old and new friends. They are part of me.

In this blog I’ll write about my favorite music, art and books.
What I hear, see, read, feel, think and love.

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Meeting Jan Six and Rembrandt

Last week, after a troublesome journey, I arrived at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. After some queuing up in the rain I was going at once to Jan Six. There he was, with his beautiful red coat. I liked him at first sight. His appearance, his posture. His polite impatience, was he going out ? His gorgeous cloths. The many buttons. Most of all I liked his eyes. Were they green ? Friendly but a little absent. He had other things on his mind.

In another room his etch, more casual, Jan Six was leaning against a window-sill. Reading some papers. As if not aware of the portraitist.

A reader lives in another world or age. Forgets the other people around. Can a reader be unaware of the attention when pictured ? Is it possible to picture the very moment of reading ?

Both portraits showed a real person. Someone you could give a hand and speak to. I felt the presence of two people. Jan Six or was it Rembrandt that I saw or maybe, interpreting, me ?

Rijksmuseum
Rijksmuseum and Jan Six

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Dichter und Bauer

A little child, six years old, I was going to a fair. My mother told me about a kind of water organ with music. Full of expectations I was sitting at the front row inside a very large tent. Suddenly the organ was spraying water streams in all sorts of color. The fountains were waving from left to right and up and down. All in harmony with the music.

I liked the show with all these magnificent colors. But moving me most was the music. I never liked the usual children songs. Now I was sitting upright, absorbed by the music.

The slow beginning, the tempi, the waltz. The mildness and then the unexpected loudness of the orchestra. The violins, the flutes, the brass. The melancholy of the violoncello. Sounds I never sensed before.

Life got a new and heavenly dimension. I have never forgotten this first conscious hearing of music. This enchantment of music.

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