BACH / PETRARCH Ascension d minor

Download as .pdf  Today, driven solely by the desire to see a place renown for its height, I ascended the highest peak in this mountainous region, not improperly called Ventoux. The ascent of Mont Ventoux by Petrarch is a journey of a day, which raises the question of the elevation of the soul as well as of the body. Back from this great wandering, Petrarch briefly reports to his confessor who had remained in Italy. Bach composed much of his work for violin after the death of his first wife. These are tormented works shaped by incessant and unresolved questions. Similar to a “journey in the dark”, the second partita may be seen as a tombeau for his first spouse, Maria Barbara. I was simply trying to avoid the exertion of the ascent; but no human ingenuity can alter the nature of things, or cause anything to reach a height by going downwards. Joining forces is a better way of perceiving the intense loneliness of inner reflection. Petrarch walks with his brother who always outdistances him, but waits for him while alternating encouragement and mockery. Similarly, the voice and violin take turns in the dizzying interiority of these travels. And then things fall naturally into place as we listen to Bach and Petrarch opening up to each other, with mutual illumination, exchanging views and hiking maps of the soul. This ascension in D minor is a crossing of our paths. It is a way to traveling a winding and unexpected stretch of road together, following an ever-changing trackway, as time passes…. Yes, the life which we call blessed is to be sought for on a high eminence, and strait is the way that leads to it. Many, also, are the hills that lie between, and we must ascend, by a glorious stairway, from strength to strength. At the top is at once the end of our struggles and the goal for which we are bound. All wish to reach this goal, but, as Ovid says, ‘To wish is little; we must long with the utmost eagerness to gain our end.’ Thou certainly dost ardently desire, as well as simply wish, unless thou deceivest thyself in this matter, as in so many others. What, then, doth hold thee back? Reaching the top, Petrarch embrasses in one glance of the soul the vaste domain that lies between spanish Pyrénées and balkanian Hemus Peak or Black Sea. And so he forsees the Republica Literaria, of which he is considered to be the spiritual father.

PÉTRARQUE / BACH Ascension du Mont Ventoux899.2 KiB768
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