Everything in sound or the visual arts that affects us emotionally is, I believe, a metaphor possibly for a related experience or for a blending of experiences from our lives. It seems to be so for the reason that every image I make and keep begins with butterflies, a feeling of recognition and joy.
I have been a musician since age eight when I began studying the piano and it began my love of classical music. I have heard extraordinary and memorable performances of the world's greatest music by the world's finest orchestras. Yet what stays in my mind with the most clarity is a single note.
I belonged for many years to the St. Botolph Club in Boston where each gathering was a performance, sometimes a lecture, always an art exhibit, and sometimes music. The New England Conservatory was often the source of musicians.
This particular occasion was unusual and special. About 11 years before Issac Stern had visited Israel for the purpose of selecting young and promising musicians to come to the United States for study. In this case he chose four who had been playing together as a string quartet. At the time we heard them they were in their early twenties and had been playing together for eleven years and they were the quartet in residence at the Conservatory.
The program was one quartet each by Mozart and Brahms.
As I became older I developed serious hearing problems (among them having only one functioning ear and that one requiring a hearing aid) and so the acoustics of the room and my nearness to the performers were critical. I sat about 10 feet from the quartet. The first note of the Mozart was long and sustained with all four instruments playing in unison. My immediate reaction was that I had gone to heaven. The sound was so rich and beautiful, I had never experienced anything like it before. It obviously resonated with all my previous listening yet it was unique. It was, in a sense, a reminder of what I had been longing to hear for forty or so years, but only on this one occasion (although the remainder of the evening was incredibly beautiful also) was everything: composition, instruments, performers, and acoustics exactly right for me.
The note had an incredibly rich and deep texture as if dozens of instruments were playing. In an odd way it evoked all of music in perhaps four seconds and began a hour of ecstasy.
A great photograph has a similar story. Every inch contributes to the whole yet every inch is a picture itself. My photographs aspire to this, but only on a few occasions do I feel they accomplish it. One such image is shown below.
Reeds, Blue Water and Water Lilies