There is nothing as generous as the voice of the cello. Some are more dulcet,
higher, more bell like, frenetic, but there is nothing that sounds more
human, gracious, pleading. The sound is the entirety of the cello body vibrating
to the scraping of the strings; the entire body is vibrating in sympathy,
reply; when we cry, our entire body shivers. The structure is being destroyed,
toppled, by an intangibility, by air.
The space around us is pulled out by the cello, walls collapse and the ceiling
becomes dark, windy, glimmering. Thick spade shaped leaves gather themselves
against sunlight, the stream forms a hill of water over the sunken face.
But it is never as large and impassive as the ocean. The realm of the cello,
I believe, ends at the shore, the mouth of the river. Perhaps it is the
violin, the piano, the entirety of a orchestra, that enters the realm of
the unknown. The cello, I would say is bounded by sorrow, familiarity. But
it is of a sort that I do not find tiring. I think it would be enough to
live out the rest of one's life simply in the immediacy of this music, the
consonants of this emotion that neither harm nor desire to do so. The strength
of beauty becomes apparent. Music that moves, music that moves one towards
the unbending clarity, the uncluttered clarity, the white light, perhaps,
that we have been taught to believe was unobtainable, unbearable.
It is the yearning, that is only half human. The rest is some intangible,
lighter stuff, rosewood. Something akin to the mind but devoid of pattern
or logic. There is the heart, the mind and the aspect of us that cannot
be described as anything other than a flame. It is an aspect of us that
is not affected by our individuality or experience. Yet it is as part of
us as our bones, it is our structure as our headstones topple in floodwaters,
our bones swept and fused with a river.
My mother played the cello, not very well. That, in fact, is how I met my
wife. Maria was in a quartet, wearing a deep green
velvet dress with pale
green arms. I had gone up to congratulate the cellist and was introduced
to the pianist: my future wife. I had not the slightest intention of talking
to her but, later on in the evening, I kissed her.
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