Way behind the hamlet
stands an organ man
and with freezing fingers
grinds the best he can.
Barefoot on the snowbank
swaying to and fro –
and his little plate has
ne’er coin to show.
No-one comes to listen,
no-one comes to greet,
and the dogs are growling
at the old man’s feet.
And he lets it happen,
lets it as it will –
cranking – and his organ
never staying still.
Strangest of the Ancients,
must I walk with you?
Will you grind my Lieders
on your organ, too?
On some days, I feel exactly the way Schubert’s song describes it – old and quaint. Of course, I know I am not (yet), but when I look around my environment, I sometimes can’t help but to believe it.
And sometimes it actually seems like the organ-grinder is not just representing each one of us, but also our culture.
No one wants to listen. No one looks at him. Barefoot on the snowbank, swaying. At the old, sick man.
And yet we could ask: do you want me to go with you? Do you want to play your organ to my songs?
Because they still exist. If only we were willing to leave behind all the noise of the world to follow it instead, we would be able to find it. There are still poets in our world. There is still some of our music and culture remaining.
Butfor not much longer, I am afraid. They disappear faster than any one of us can imagine.
I am now at an age where I can say: Until a few years ago, the world was quite different.
A few years ago, not everyone and everything was constantly online with a smartphone or was constantly confronted with advertising and entertainment.
Instead, there was a real life, real thoughts and real feelings.
The world was different – and also a lot better.
Until recently, I thought this was just my point of view. I’m just getting old and can’t follow younger people’s thoughts or the kind of world that’s about to emerge anymore. And just like any old man I yearn for my youth and therefore reject this, our time.
But that’s not it, or maybe a part of it is.
Because something has really changed. Something strange happened to us and made us loose something very important.
When I began to develop an interest for reading at the age of fifteen, books had a greater impact on me than anything else in this world. It was the Steppenwolf who showed me that I was not alone with my confusion, foggy thoughts and feelings. He taught me that there were others with same feelings and who had the gift to put their suffering into words.
And when I decided to join the world of classical music at the age of almost twenty, I experienced a transformation of mind and soul, which must be experienced on your own in order to fully understand it.
For about twenty years, I kept bothering myself with these things – reading, playing music, reading, playing music…
Here and there, I used to freelance to be able to continue with this freedom, but my inner life was only all about music and literature.
But today, almost all of it vanished. Gone. From my inner self, too.
Because I was stupid enough to follow this new trend for a while. Internet, smartphone, social media and Youtube.
And I have to admit, in the beginning it was really fun. It wasinteresting and entertaining as if you got a new toy.
But with each passing day, I lost myself a little more. The images in my head discolored to gray, my ability to feel became numb, and my language withered.
And that changed my life.
And then I noticed that many people felt the way I did. It seemed to be a problem for all people in our culture. No matter if cultured men, artists, or their audience.
We live in a time of upheaval, leading us forward. But instead of bucking the trend and trying to preserve what is precious to us, we let it all go.Instead, we stareat the future like an innocent bunny,forgetting everything that makes us who we are.
I have to stop this. I cannot live like that anymore.
Even if it feels like I’m the only one planning to go that way.
I cannot live like that anymore.
I want to go back. I want my free spirit and my free soul back. I want the real beauty back in my life. Joy and freedom.
I want the poets back. Their words. The dreams they build, in which we live like gods.
And I want the music back.
Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, Mahler, Bruckner, Schönberg, Pärt.
I don’t want to deal with mere songs anymore. But with real splendor.
And I want to be able to remember.
There are so many things I don’t remember. I’ve forgotten so much, and some of it will be gone forever. Because with my thoughts, my emotional world has changed as well. I lost so much. My way of thinking is darker, and deep in my heart I got very embittered.
But at least my intertwined way had a meaning – I became wiser. I am not the naive boy from back then anymore.
I might have lost a part of my belief in the good in man. But thereforeI know today that one must fight for its art and culture. And that you must scream at least as loud as those who say, “Culture is crap! Classicism is boring and poetry is dead!”, so you are able to save anything you can in the noise of time.
I can only go back by myself.
Back to music.
Back to the poets.
Because going back is also a step forward.
But maybe somebody is willing to accompany me. Because deep inside me, I still haven’t figured out how I’m going to do this. How to make art. How to live with and through art. And how to understand the world through art.
Of course, this is only one way of many. But this is my way. And if you go on your own way, you will eventually get a map in order to find your own path. And that will lead you to where your heart lies.