Wednesday, 16 February 2011


I just finished reading Walter Isaacson's  monumental biography of Einstein.  OK, I didn't read it.  I listened to it while knitting.  While I don't really care for fiction delivered by audio, it wonderful for all the rest of the things I want to read.

In a book filled with marvelous insights, I give you this.  

"Music continued to beguile Einstein.  It was not so much an escape, as it was a connection to the harmony underlying the universe, to the creative genius of the great composers and to other people who felt comfortable bonding with more than just words.  He was awed both in music and in physics,  by the beauty of harmonies."

"What Einstein appreciated in Mozart and Bach was the clear architectural structure that made their music seem deterministic and, like his own favourite scientific theories, plucked from the universe rather than composed.  'Beethoven created his music', Einstein once said, 'but Mozart's music is so pure it seems to have been ever present in the universe.'  He contrasted Beethoven and Bach, 'I feel uncomfortable listening to Beethoven.  I think he is too personal, almost naked.  Give me Bach and then more Bach.'  He also admired Schubert for his superlative ability to express emotions, but in a questionnaire he once filled out, he was critical about other composers in ways that reflected his scientific sentiments.  Handel had a certain shallowness.  Mendelssohn displayed considerable talent but an indefinable lack of depth that often leads to banality.  Wagner had a lack of architectural structure I see as decadence and Strauss was gifted but without inner truth." ( from Einstein:  His Life and Universe, Walter Isaacoson)

Sigh.  I think Einstein would have understood my feelings about  knitting lace.  It is the harmony of the thing.  Knitting lace feels like music.

Bach - Bwv1068 Orchestral Suite - 02 - Air

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