A Sad, Quiet and Beautiful Peace

“That which can be said at all can be said clearly; and what we cannot talk about we must pass over in silence” – Ludwig Wittgenstein

As I was sitting down to write another installment of the “world gone mad”, the classical music station I listen to was playing the piece below.

I’ve heard it before, maybe once in a movie theater as it’s been used in film, TV and theatre – but that was years and years ago, and sadly, I’d forgotten about it. After hearing it again, I can’t understand how I could ever have forgotten it.  Maybe being 63 years old has brought me a wisp of something, for hearing it again, I shall never forget it.

“I work at a coffee shop. We usually play jazz and folk music throughout the day. One day, after I told everyone that we were closing up and that they had to go, I put on this song. Everone shuffled out the door and there was only one woman left. She was cleaning up a stack of papers that she was reading and she told me she would be on her way out. I told her to take her time. As I was counting the till she came up to the counter and asked if she could stay until this song was over. I told her that would be fine. Ten minutes later she came up to the counter, with small tears on her cheeks and said, “Thank you, I needed that.” I’ve always felt a profound attachment to this song. A kind of solace, a place to go to think; just about anything. I still wonder what was going on inside of her listening to this. It seemed important. More important than what goes on inside of me while listening to this, although both are puzzling. I still keep coming back to this song trying to figure out what it’s all about.”…from a Youtube comment

If you’ve heard it and enjoyed it…please enjoy it again.  If this is your first time hearing this haunting and beautiful work, I can’t say what you’ll feel, for that’s personal…but your soul will stop for a brief respite and go where it may go.


Arvo Pärt: “Spiegel im Spiegel” – Leonhard Roczek – Cello; Herbert Schuch – Piano

Spiegel im Spiegel (Mirror(s) in the mirror) is a composition by Arvo Pärt written in 1978, just before his departure from Estonia. The piece is in the tintinnabular style, wherein a melodic voice, operating over diatonic scales, and tintinnabular voice, operating within a triad on the tonic, accompany each other. It is about ten minutes long.

“Spiegel im Spiegel” in German literally can mean both “mirror in the mirror” as well as “mirrors in the mirror”, referring to an infinity mirror, which produces an infinity of images reflected by parallel plane mirrors: the tonic triads are endlessly repeated with small variations as if reflected back and forth. The structure of melody is made by couple of phrases characterized by the alternation between ascending and descending movement with the fulcrum on the note A. This, with also the overturning of the final intervals between adjacent phrases (for example, ascending sixth in the question – descending sixth in the answer), contribute to give the impression of a figure reflecting on a mirror and walking back and towards it. – via wikipedia.org

Photo credit: http://www.unsplash.com/@oldskoolphotography


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