Nico Gerrits‘ Today’s memory
In memoriam: Hermann Hesse
Originally shared by Nico Gerrits
#onthisday 53 years ago, in 1962, the famous poet, novelist, and painter Hermann Hesse died. Music played a special role in his life. As a child he learned to play the violin and, in his adult years, many musicians and composers were among his friends. He wrote music reviews and comments, and several of his poems were set to music. Hesse’s love for music is reflected throughout many of his works and letters.
From his last novel, „Das Glasperlenspiel” (English Title: „The Glass Bead Game” ), which was first published in 1943 and rewarded with a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1946, I’d like to quote the following passage:
He sat down and carefully, very softly, played a movement from the Purcell sonata which was one of Father Jacobus’s favorite pieces. The notes fell into the stillness like drops of golden light, so softly that, along with them, the song of the old fountain in the courtyard could be heard also. Gently and austerely, sparingly and sweetly, the lovely voices met and mingled; bravely and gaily they paced their tender rondo through the void of time and transitoriness, for a little while making the room and the night hour vast as the universe. And when the friends bade each other good night, the guest’s face had changed and brightened, although his eyes had filled with tears.
Er setzte sich und spielte behutsam, ganz leise, einen Satz aus jener Sonate von Purcell, einem Lieblingsstück des Paters Jacobus. Wie Tropfen goldenen Lichts fielen die Töne in die Stille, so leise, daß man dazwischen noch den Gesang des alten laufenden Brunnens im Hofe hören konnte. Sanft und streng, sparsam und süß begegneten und verschränkten sich die Stimmen der holden Musik, tapfer und heiter schritten sie ihren innigen Reigen durch das Nichts der Zeit und Vergänglichkeit, machten den Raum und die Nachtstunde für die kleine Weile ihrer Dauer weit und weltgroß, und als Josef Knecht seinen Gast verabschiedete, hatte dieser ein verändertes und erhelltes Gesicht, und zugleich Tränen in den Augen.
The passage above made me wonder about what baroque sonata Hesse had in mind. Though organist, Henry Purcell paid less attention to writing keyboard instrumentals (i.e. for harpsichord or organ). Since I couldn’t find any sonata among his keyboard works, the addressed piece might be a transcribed movement out of one of Purcell’s many Trio Sonatas… yet which one? To cut things short: I couldn’t find out. So, do comment if you know more 🙂
Assuming Hesse would’ve approved this one, too, here’s the so-called Golden Sonata . Have a wonderful golden summer’s Sunday – enjoy!
on Hermann Hesse and music:
on Henry Purcell:
o #sundayclassics #europeanmusic o