A Life Worth Living


A Life Worth Living
Thoughts Along The Way
The Ballad of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde
Wilder Still
Dorothy Parker: A Sense of Mirth
Cyrano de Bergerac
The Music Of Words
Shannon I
Mightier Than The Sword

The unexamined life is not worth living... (Plato)

Harmonious Words on Music and Other Vital Things

On Music...

Notes on "LIEBERSTOD"* by Richard Wagner...

The story of Tristan and Isolde is eight centuries old, but it still grips us as few others can.

It is the tragedy of two lovers who cannot fulfill their love for moral reasons, who never touch one another except in the commingling of their spirits, and who find consummation of their intense love only in their imagination and dreams.

Wagner avoids any harmonic resting places in the work, and achieves a non-ending melody (all symbolic of their situation).

It is a unique opus, for the composer set lovemaking to music more graphically than anyone before or since... And it is the spiritual essence of lovemaking which goes so far beyond the physical.

by David W. Eagle
Professor of Music, Mills College

* The German word, "Leiberstod," is like the French phrase, "Le Petit Mort." Literally translated they mean, respectively, "Love Death," and "The Small Death." Both phrases, however, mean the explosive peak of the physical love experience.

From "The Wild Rose"
by Doris Mortman

This is the power of music: to give sound to our emotions, to translate sentiment into something palpable.

Poetry and literature speak of feeling.
Art depicts mood.
But only music displays our emotions with life; only music gives them definition.

Each creation, each opus becomes a confessional in which composers reveal themselves, converting their emotional essence into sound.

Beethoven introduces us to anger.

Hayden teaches us capriciousness.

Rachmaninoff gives us melancholy.

Wagner is demonic.

Bach is pious.

Schuman was mad and because his genius was able to record his fight for sanity, we hear what isolation and the edge of lunacy sound like.

Liszt is lusty and vigorous, and insists that we confront his overwhelming sexuality as well as our own.

Chopin is a poet, and without him, we never would understand what night is, what perfume is, what romance is.

Unless you're behind bars, no one gets stuck unless he wants to be. You move. You change your life. You get things done. You just have to want to do it badly enough.
Experience is not what happens to a man; its what a man does with what happens to him.
The great pianists ~ Paderewski, Horowitz, Rachmaninoff, Ashkenazy ~ dont simply play, they sing, they soar into the heavens.
(said of the incredibly gifted Jewish violinist, born in Austria before the First World War, about whose story the first part of the book, "The Wild Rose," is concerned):

The air felt electric, as if his personality had charged the atmosphere with energy.

Nothing about him was diluted; nothing was watered down by fear of what others might think, or concerns about whether he fit a convention or mold.

He thought what he wanted to think. He said what he thought. He did what he said.

And he did what he believed was right.


Harmony dispels disharmony; music has the power to heal.


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