Sunday, May 4, 2008

From Saturday

A sleepless night - sciatic impossibility of lying down - took up Ian Mcewan's novel Saturday - set on the eve of the second war against Iraq. Read it mostly standing up. Some of the best writing I have read in a while. Shows that I should stop being buried in other people's scholarship and enjoy life a little.

There are these rare moments when musicians together touch something sweeter than they've ever found before in rehearsals or performance, beyond the merely collaborative or technically proficient, when their expression becomes as easy and graceful as friendship or love. This is when they give us a glimpse of what we might be, of our best selves, and of an impossible world in which you give everything you have to others, but lose nothing of yourself. Out in the real world there exist detailed plans, visionary projects for peaceable realms, all conflicts resolved, happiness for everyone, for ever - mirages for which people are prepared to die and kill. Christ's kingdom on earth, the worker's paradise, the ideal Islamic state. But only in music, and only on rare occasions, does the curtain actually lift on this dream of community, and it's tantalizingly conjured, before fading away with the last notes.

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