What I’m Reading - A curious blend of eccentric characters thrown together in a London flat across the street from Highgate Cemetary. An agoraphobic crossword-setting husband’s life ends in shambles after his wife finally leaves him, the owner of one of the other flats dies, leaving it to her twin twenty-year-old American nieces with a stipulation – they must live there for one year, and their mother – her estranged sister - and father are not to step foot inside; the lover she left behind is a tour guide for Highgate Cemetary. He, for reasons he can’t even figure out, hides from the twins when they ring his doorbell, preferring instead to stalk them all over London.
I can’t wait to find out what these crazy characters will do next with each other.
As part of a “100 Novels” project – which I will talk more about soon – I’m also reading The Tales of the Heptameron . It reads like the King James Bible – understandable with beautiful words, but not a page-turner!
I grew up on symphonies - Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Hayden, Tchaikovsky. I understood them, embraced them, played them. The Romantic Period which followed broke the Almighty Classical rules; it produced music that was ”weird” and “boring.” I especially dismissed Debussy out of hand; no discernable beat, dissonance without resolution, milder dynamics.
Then I crossed paths with “Clouds,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1XSJHTOFAI one of Debussy’s “Three Nocturnes.” Maybe it found me in a receptive mood that day, but listening to it painted a picture for me – a painting of sound, of fair-weather cumulus clouds against a blue sky. When all is said and done, the value we place on a particular piece of music is determined by its emotional affect on us. “Clouds” transported me from whatever I happened to be doing at that time, to feeling a warm sun on my face, the fragrance of grass, a blue sky over me.
I realized my mistake: while the symphonies tug my emotions this way and that like an exciting rollercoaster, Debussy’s impressionistic music takes me through a multi-sensory art gallery, gently. Two genres, two sets of tools, two different experiences.