“Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the angelic orders?”

I was recently listening to four piano works (OP.116-119) that Brahms composed at the very end of his life as a composer.

They are different, but not for the theme, nor the pattern. There is no hymn, nor chant. They do not sound well-intended or exciting. They are quite the opposite: profound, but ordinary. Is this what happens when a great mind dies?

Over time, life grows into complication and variation, but death reveals profoundness and regression. Men are more likely depressed by irresistible regression than by intended variation.

For many years, I keep recalling one arresting line by Rilke – “Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the angelic orders?”

The line is the first line from Duino Elegies. Rilke said that he heard a voice when he was walking by the cliffs of Duino. The voice might have echoed, until life’s last epoch finally blows him to demise.

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Comments

  • 杨希野  On September 18, 2011 at 5:14 am

    Yes, for many years. I sitll remember your previous blog about this sentence.

    • mumamme  On September 18, 2011 at 11:44 am

      Dude, for many years, you STILL cannot type words in their correct order of letters!!

      • yxy  On September 18, 2011 at 11:58 am

        Haha, you are right.

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