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CM von Weber and Nature

June 12, 2008

In these two extracts Carl Maria von Weber writes about Nature.

The contemplation of a landscape is to me the performance of a piece of music. I feel the effect of the whole without dwelling on the details, which produce it; in a word, strange as it may seem, the landscape affects me in the dimension of Time. The pleasure to me is successive.

But this has its major delights and pains. Delight because I never know where the mountain, the tree, the house – or whatever else it may be – could occur, so that at every contemplation a new performance is experienced. But great pain when I travel. Then begins a fine confusion in my soul for everything becomes a whirl and a muddle. How the ideas chase each other and criss-cross and shatter themselves! If I see a view steadily in the distance, the picture always conjures up a parallel musical image in the sympathetic world of my imagination, one which I can perhaps then happily grasp and secure and develop. But good heavens! When Nature is gradually unrolled before my eyes, how the funeral marches and rondos and furiosos and pastorales somersault after each other!

(C.M. von Weber, Tonkunstlersleben, after 1809, extract.)

Shall I describe it to you? That would drive me quite mad, no, I feel in Gods free Nature, but I cant speak to you about it.

(C.M. von Weber, writing about a walking trip in the Swiss Alps in a letter to Alexander von Dusch, 1811.)

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