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the first part of a triptych of articles


'Triptych' is a journey through comparative arts. Although my link throughout is music, the lens through which I view my subject is one of a musician who delights in the juxtaposition and oneness of all the Arts: their comparison to my own and the very lack of separation and division between.

'Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn. They teach you there's a boundary line to music. But, man, there's no boundary line to art.'

- Charlie Parker (1920-1955) US Jazz musician quoted in 'Children of Albion: Poetry of the Underground in Britain', 'Afterwords', section 3, ed Michael Horovitz (1969)

I remember leaning out of a high window in a dismally grey, downtown apartment building in car-choked Rotterdam. It had been raining hard, and the air was fresher, but still industrial with a generous, omnipresent aroma of drains and an aftertaste of exhaust fumes. The sky was menacing and deep pewter-coloured, but the sun shone like a spotlight someone had just remembered to switch on. To this day, this has remained the only occasion upon which I have gazed spell-bound upon a flock of three, perfectly semicircular rainbows. Nothing interrupted the bowing of their arced beams across a heavenly, fretless fingerboard.

Rotterdam by night. Photo: Keith Bramich
Rotterdam by night. Photo: Keith Bramich

'What is art? Nature concentrated'. -- Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850), French novelist.

I go back to my memory voluntarily or involuntarily because it is buried at the pin of an invisible pivot in my mind. Luciano Berio (1925-2003), composer of the piano concerto 'Points on a curve to find ...' had conducted its première in the same city just a few months prior to my settling there for three years. I had spent a first working in Scotland when I initially left my eleven in London behind me. This was 1974. The wanderlust would take me further eventually: the German part of Switzerland, Oman, Dubai and back as far a stone's throw from the French border in Switzerland's Rhone Valley, my home today. However, I have been known to leave it temporarily to teach in the United Sates, for example.

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Copyright © 6 March 2005 Jennifer I Paull, Vouvry, Switzerland


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