November 21, 2013

Brilliant Book Excerpt

It so happened that Lucy, who found daily life rather chaotic, entered a more solid world when she opened the piano.  She was then no longer either deferential or patronizing; no longer either a rebel or a slave.  The kingdom of music is not the kingdom of this world; it will accept those whom breeding and intellect and culture have alike rejected.  The commonplace person begins to play, and shoots into the empyrean without effort, whilst we look up, marvelling how he was escaped us, and thinking how we could worship him and love him, would he but translate his visions into human words, and his experiences into human actions.  Perhaps he cannot; certainly he does not, or does so very seldom.  Lucy has done so never.

She was no dazzling executante; her runs were not at all like strings of pearls, and she struck no more right notes than was suitable for one of her age and situation.  Nor was she the passionate young lady, who performs so tragically on a summer's evening with the window open.  Passion was there, but it could not be easily labelled; it slipped between love and hatred and jealousy, and all the furniture of the pictorial style.  And she was tragical only in the sense that she was great, for she loved to play on the side of Victory.  Victory of what and over what--that is more than the words of daily life can tell us.  But that some sonatas of Beethoven are written tragic no one can gainsay; yet they can triumph or despair as the player decides, and Lucy had decided that they should triumph.

~E. M. Forster, A Room With a View

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