Pellegrina's Notebook

"In art, as in love, instinct is enough."

Category: Uncategorized


‘Leuchten mir bis in das ewig selig Leben!”


When I first heard about the tragic accident in the French Alps yesterday, my first thought was: there will be at least one musician on that plane because, in recent years, I have rarely been on a European city-bound flight without a colleague or friend on board – I have bumped into them as we queued for boarding, in an airport lounge, or seen the familiar form of a violin case or the bulk of shiny cello armour as it makes its way down the aisle. On a flight to Vienna a while back I met two singers engaged by the same theatre – and they had just met each other. So, when I learned that two lyric artists were lost on that flight, though I did not know them personally, I knew many I know would.

A poignant synchronicity struck me when a recording of Maria Radner, the young and beautiful voiced contralto who lost her life on the doomed flight, singing Mahler’s ‘Urlicht’ surfaced on Facebook. I can see no other more apt commemoration of art and life and the art and life we must value every day as if it was to be our last. ‘Urlicht’ was the low grisaille morning light over those primeval mountains when tragedy struck and folded those souls into its embrace, taking them to we know not where. I write these words and implore you to listen to Maria’s voice in tribute to her, her husband, their baby, Oleg Bryjak, the children from the Joseph-Koenig-Gymnasium in Haltern am See, their teachers, the other passengers,  and the crew of German Wings flight 4U9525. They were all simply the friends we did not have the chance to meet. I hope with all my heart they saw the light and that it was a comfort on their last journey.

O Röschen rot!
Der Mensch liegt in größter Not!
Der Mensch liegt in größter Pein!
Je lieber möcht’ ich im Himmel sein.
Da kam ich auf einen breiten Weg:
Da kam ein Engelein und wollt’ mich abweisen.
Ach nein! Ich ließ mich nicht abweisen!
Ich bin von Gott und will wieder zu Gott!
Der liebe Gott wird mir ein Lichtchen geben,
Wird leuchten mir bis in das ewig selig Leben!
—From Des Knaben Wunderhorn





Words wider than wisdom

Wisdom broader than worlds

Worlds higher than waves

Waves whiter than snow

Snow deeper than oceans

Oceans fuller than clouds

Clouds colder than ice

Ice clearer than dreams

Dreams lighter than thoughts

Thoughts broken like splinters

Splinters thornier than roses

Roses silkier than satin

Satin softer than waves

Waves higher than wisdom

Wisdom truer than words

Words rounder than laughter

Laughter sadder than tears

Tears purer than rain…

Just words…

Everyday, not just for one

An expression of love belongs to  every day – make it count, give it resonance and depth and above all, clarity.

i leave you with the emperor of lower case. i know it makes sense to me. an honest expression of love belongs to every day, not just one day of the year…

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

ee cummings

The order of the universe

Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.

Kahlil Gilbran

This perfect song was featured in a wonderful film called ‘The Music Master’ which I watched again recently.