Having assimilated the techniques and methods of responsibility, the curious soul seeks to know more, do more and feel more deeply. If you are curious about what your life might become, and eager to find out, then you are in the process of expanding your boundaries and extending your reach. Whether you are a spiritual novice of a spiritual master, this attitude of curiosity will drive you toward a greater creativity.
The flower shoot has emerged from the ground. The bud has formed. The essence has taken shape. We are prepared to move to the higher levels of ethical, religious and spiritual attainment. That is what this experience can feel like for the person who has diligently pursued and followed this model so far. If you are eager to experience more, then this is for you.
- Victor Borusov-Musatov, May Flowers (1894)
- Frederic Edwin Church, The Andes of Ecuador (c. 1855)
Film and Stage
- The Man Who Wasn’t There: playing with the film noir idiom
- The Cider House Rules, a “fable about a young man's journey into the world, his loss of innocence and his acquiring of values that reflect the lessons learned on his journey”
Music: Composers, artists, and major works
Many composers have taken a theme, and constructed variations on it, thereby exploring the theme in many dimensions or from many perspectives.
- In his Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1741) (approx. 40-80’), Johann Sebastian Bach constructed a set of thirty variations from a simple melody, producing “a Rubik's Cube of invention and architecture”. Bach encouraged artistic freedom and exploration by instructing that each variation was to be repeated, suggesting that he wished for them to be played in different ways. Though Bach may not have foreseen the evolution of keyboard instruments, the rise of the piano has further extended the reach of the Goldberg Variations. One simple idea has expanded in many directions. More than 600 recordings have been published, some on harpsichord, more on piano. Here are some of the best recorded performances on harpsichord, the instrument for which the work was written: Walcha (1961), Hantaï (1999), Frisch (2000), Kipnis (2000), Staier (2010), Rannou (2013), Esfahani (2016), and Watchorn (2021). Here are some of the best recorded performances on piano: Gould (1955), Tureck (1957), Kempff (1969), Gould (1981), Schiff (1982), Tipo (1986), Dershovina (Derzhavina) (1994), Perahia (2000), Schiff (2001), Rana (2014), Sims (2015), Tharaud (2015), Levit (2016), and Tomasz (2021).
- Beethoven crafted his 33 Variations in C on a waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120 (“Diabelli Variations”) (1823) (approx. 45-55’), from a thoroughly pedestrian waltz melody. “It is an opus magnum that summarizes not only Beethoven’s own experiments as a composer but those of the whole German musical tradition to which he considered himself a rightful heir. It is also among the wittiest of his compositions.” “Diabelli's theme has been disparaged, and not without reason; but its primitive virtues should not be overlooked. Its rustic vitality and clear-cut motives lend themselves well to variation and, for that matter, to parody.” “The Diabelli Variations cover the whole range of human emotions.” Top recorded performances are by Schnabel (1937), Arrau (1952), Baumgartner (1952), Kovacevich (1968), Rosen (1977), Richter (1986), Ashkenazy (2007), Kovacevich (2008) ***, Staier (2012), Goodyear (2014), and Uchida (2022).
- Brahms, 25 Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Händel, Op. 24 (1861).
- Weber, Variations a Theme from Silvana, Op. 33
- John Corigliano, Symphony No. 2 (2000): the composer derived this work from his String Quartet No. 1, “Farewell” (1995).
The clarinet quintet form evokes a sense of expanding, or augmenting, with the remarkably distinct voice of the clarinet adding a strong voice to the string quartet. This is especially but not exclusively true of clarinet romantic-era quintets composed in major keys. Notable clarinet quintets include:
- Johannes Brahms, Clarinet Quintet in B Minor, Op. 115 (1891)
- Arthur Somervell, Clarinet Quintet in G Major (1913)
- Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Clarinet Quintet in F-sharp Minor, Op. 10 (1895)
- Richard Walthew, A short Quintet in E-flat Major (1918)
- Anton Reicha, Clarinet Quintet in B-flat Major, Op. 89 (1820)
- Paul Hindemith, Clarinet Quintet, Op. 30 (1923, rev. 1954)
- Arthur Bliss, Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet, Op. 20 (1932)
Other compositions on the theme of blossoming
- Kenessey, The Passing “was written as a complement to the nine-minute black-and-white silent film based on the fairy tale by Christian Andersen”, tracing “a mother’s search for her lost infant.” Yet somehow her discoveries along the way inspired Kenessey to send another message through the music.
- Ben Johnston, String Quartet No. 9 (1988): the composer toys with earlier musical idioms to explore “how European music might have developed had it been freed of the constraints of equal temperament” [Bob Gilmore, program notes for an album of string quartets].
- Frescobaldi, Il primo libro di capricci (Capricci for organ) (1624)
- La Barre: Suite No. 2, Book 1, in G Major, for transverse flute
- Gouvy: Sinfonietta in D Major, Op. 80: 1. Adagio - Allegro; 2. Scherzo. Allegro; 3. Tema con variazioni. Andante; 4. Finale. Allegro.
- Dutilleux, Symphony No. 2, "Le Double" (1959)
- Hendrik Andriessen, Concertino for Oboe & String Orchestra (1970)
Pasquale Grasso is a jazz guitarist who riffs masterfully on jazz classics. His albums include:
- “Be-Bop” (2022)
- “Pasquale Plays Duke” (2021)
- “Solo Standards” (2020)
- “Solo Bud Powell” (2020)
- “Merci Toots”, with Yvonnick Prene (2015)
- Joe Alexander Quintet, “Blue Jubilee”: from the blues came jazz
- Anthony Braxton, “20 Standards” 4-CD set and “23 Standards” 4-CD set, with Kevin O’Neil, Kevin Norton and Andy Eulau, illustrates the expansion of standard melodies into intricate jazz.
- Cochemea, “Vol. II: “Baca Sewa”, “. . . radiates like a blossoming flower from beginning to end.” [Ayana Contreras, Downbeat magazine, September 2021, p. 54.]
- Jihye Lee Orchestra, “April”
- Matthew Shipp String Trio, “Expansion, Power, Release”
- Jasmine Myra, “Horizons” (2022): “Jasmine Myra is a saxophonist, composer and band leader, based in Leeds. Part of the bustling, creative, cross-genre music scene in the city she has surrounded herself with some of the best young talent in the north of England. Her original instrumental music has a euphoric and uplifting sound . . .”
- Clare Hammond, “Variations” (2021) (71’)
- Robert Frost, “Going for Water”
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “May Song”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The Rhondora”
Little by little they began to talk to each other. Effusion followed silence, which is fulness. The night was serene and splendid overhead. These two beings, pure as spirits, told each other everything, their dreams, their intoxications, their ecstasies, their chimæras, their weaknesses, how they had adored each other from afar, how they had longed for each other, their despair when they had ceased to see each other. They confided to each other in an ideal intimacy, which nothing could augment, their most secret and most mysterious thoughts. They related to each other, with candid faith in their illusions, all that love, youth, and the remains of childhood which still lingered about them, suggested to their minds. Their two hearts poured themselves out into each other in such wise, that at the expiration of a quarter of an hour, it was the young man who had the young girl's soul, and the young girl who had the young man's soul. Each became permeated with the other, they were enchanted with each other, they dazzled each other. [Victor Hugo, Les Misérables (1862), Volume IV – Saint-Denis; Book Fifth – The End of Which Does Not Resemble the Beginning, Chapter VI, Old People Are Made to Go Out Opportunely.]
- John Irving, The Cider House Rules: A Novel (1985).