Years ago I had a client in my law practice whose eighty-year-old father was watching me try a case on behalf of his grandson. During a recess, the gentleman came over to me, raised his index finger for emphasis and said “I admire you.” He made a point of emphasizing that word “admire” and it set me thinking about what that word meant. I had never thought about it before that. Listening to him, I realized that in reflecting on his eighty years, he thought he was seeing something special and admirable.
Admiring someone means recognizing a quality that we lack, either categorically or in degree. Usually it challenges us to emulate that quality. I have always been more mindful of things that I could admire in others since that moment with my former client’s father.
- Sarah Greenough, ed., My Faraway One: Selected Letters of Georgia O’Keefe and Alfred Stieglitz: Volume I: 1915-1933(Yale University Press, 2011): though O’Keeffe and Stieglitz were passionate about each other, they “seemed to experience their most genuine tenderness when they were apart”; their intimacy, which appears to have been based on an intellectual compatibility, obviously reached deeply into their emotional lives.
- Joyce Johnson, Minor Characters: A Young Woman’s Coming-of-Age in the Beat Orbit of Jack Kerouac (Houghton Mifflin, 1983): “ . . . a glowing introduction to the Beats. There are shrewd portraits of not just Kerouac and Ginsberg but people like Robert Frank and Hettie Jones.”
- Doug Bock Clark, The Last Whalers: Three Years in the Far Pacific with a Courageous Tribe and a Vanishing Way of Life (Little, Brown & Company, 2019): “It’s about the flood of modernity, in the form of outboard motors and cellphones and televised soap operas, as seen from the perspective of a curious but wary society that fears losing itself in the deluge.”
Music: Composers, artists, and major works
“I would like to be like that” is a statement of admiration. Franz Liszt expressed his admiration for fellow composers by transcribing their works for the piano, his instrument of choice. He transcribed symphonies.
- Beethoven, Symphony No. 1, in C major, Op. 21
- Beethoven, Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36
- Beethoven, Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 55
- Beethoven, Symphony No. 4 in B flat major, Op. 60
- Beethoven, Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67
- Beethoven, Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68
- Beethoven, Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92
- Beethoven, Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93
- Beethoven, Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125
He transcribed selections from operas.
- Verdi transcriptions
- “Rigoletto” paraphrase
- Fantasie on Themes from Bellini’s opera “Norma”
- Rossini’s William Tell Overture
- Wagner’s Tannhäuser Overture
- Opera transcriptions played by Thibaudet
- Complete Wagner and Verdi transcriptions performed by Campanella
- Opera fantasies performed by Viner
He transcribed concertos.
- Foss, Elegy for Anne Frank (1989)
- Barnson, Vanitas (2018): a cycle for cello and marimba drawn from the works of 17th-century composer Marin Marais
- Ghedini, Contrappunti (Counterpoints) (1960-1961)
- Paul Bley, “Annette”, with Franz Koglmann and Gary Peacock
- Jane Ira Bloom, “Early Americans” (here is a live performance)
Thou large-brained woman and large-hearted man, / Self-called George Sand! whose soul, amid the lions / Of thy tumultuous senses, moans defiance / And answers roar for roar, as spirits can: / I would some mild miraculous thunder ran / Above the applauded circus, in appliance / Of thine own nobler nature’s strength and science, / Drawing two pinions, white as wings of swan, / From thy strong shoulders, to amaze the place / With holier light! that thou to woman’s claim / And man’s, mightst join beside the angel’s grace / Of a pure genius sanctified from blame / Till child and maiden pressed to thine embrace / To kiss upon thy lips a stainless fame.
[Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “To George Sand: A Desire”]