In my pursuits as an autodidact I find that one discovery leads to another and that this rather circuitous path never seems to end. So the more I search the more I “discover.”
For instance, my intense interest in the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) led to my stumbling upon Carel Fabritius. Fabritius came slightly before Vermeer and both were painters from Delft. In fact, many think Vermeer was strongly influenced by Fabritius even though Fabritius left few paintings.
The cover of my limited edition CD called “Rara Avis” has a painting by Carel Fabritius called “The Goldfinch.” This painting again appears on the inside of the “Quintessence” package, It is considered to be one of his handful of masterpieces and this painting of quiet perfection fits the title “Rara Avis” perfectly.
Fabritius was only 32 years old when he was killed in the tragic munitions explosion in Delft on October 12, 1654. The only biography of Vermeer I know of begins with the Delft explosion and some biographical background on Delft and Carel Fabritius.
Somehow all of this information and the works of various artists that catch my interest influence me. As always, I am drawn to those artists who endeavor to express what Maurice Ravel called “life’s mysterious thrill.”
I have stated previously that Maurice Ravel is my favorite composer. On March 7 of this year it will be 151 years since his birth. Ravel was born in 1875 and passed in 1937. In my opinion Ravel was the “Mozart” of the early 20th century.
For those who have not sampled Ravel’s music I would suggest “Valses nobles et sentimentales.” There are both orchestral versions of this work (Ravel was a brilliant at orchestration) and solo piano versions including a piano performance by the composer himself.