What Is It You Feel I Asked Kurt

Diane Seuss

What Is It You Feel I Asked KurtWhat is it you feel I asked Kurt when you listen to

Ravel’s String Quartet in F-major, his face was so lit up

and I wondered, “the music is unlike the world I live

or think in, it’s from somewhere else, unfamiliar and unknown,

not because it is relevant to the familiar and comfortable,

but because it brings me to that place that I didn’t/couldn’t

imagine existed. And sometimes that unfamiliar place is closer

to my world than I realize, and sometimes it’s endlessly distant,”

that’s what he wrote in an email when I asked him

to remind me what he’d said earlier, off the cuff, “I don’t

recall exactly what I said,” he began, a sentence written

in iambic pentameter, and then the rest, later he spoke of two

of his brothers who died as children, leukemia and fire,

his face, soft, I’m listening to Ravel now, its irrelevancy.
.
Listen to Ravel’s String Quartet in F-major played by the Alban Berg Quartet.

Maurice Ravel completed his String quartet in F major in early April 1903 at the age of 28. Dedicated to his friend and teacher Gabriel Fauré, the work was introduced in Paris by the Heymann Quartet on March 5, 1904. The quartet follows a strict four movement classical structure: Moderato très doux begins as a sonata form allegro, the following Assez vif-Très rythmé functions as the quartet’s scherzo, while Très lent acts as a contrasting foil. The last movement, Vif et agité, reintroduces themes from the earlier passages and ends with a striking finale.

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