From Boulanger to Stockhausen


This is the time of year when new books are launched onto the market in book fairs across Europe in time for the run up to Christmas.  So I was delighted to receive a package in the post containing two copies of the hard back book, From Boulanger to Stockhausen, from the publishers, Boydell & Brewer, with my painting, Deep Blue, on the dust cover.  It also contained a personal letter from the author of the book, Bálint András Varga, thanking me for letting the publishers use my image.  It was a touching letter and I felt humbled by its contents.  Bálint Varga said he had loved my painting the moment he saw it and I was immediately reminded of a quote by Robert Motherwell:

What could be more interesting, or in the end, more ecstatic, than in those rare moments when you see another person look at something you’ve made, and realize that they got it exactly, that your heart jumped to their heart with nothing in between.

I haven’t had a chance to open the book yet, (just a sneaky peek between the covers) but if the critical write-ups on the back cover is anything to go by, I am looking forward to a good read.   Based on interviews with composers and musicians, “this is a book of voices“, writes Paul Griffiths, author, and “an important document for new generations of musicians and music lovers“, Riccardo Chailly, Gewandhauskapellmeister, Leipzig.  As musicians and fine artists share a common language, this parallel view of the creative process will be a fascinating read.

There is also an autobiographical section in the book in which Varga, who now lives in Vienna, talks about his Jewish identity and his life in postwar Budapest.  “He has helped me to remember my own not too distant past.”  András Schiff, musician.


I have already formed a delightful view of the author from his endearing letters.  This will definitely be my special Christmas read this year.



Filed under Art Works, my sketchbook pages, The Artist as Pilgrim

2 responses to “From Boulanger to Stockhausen

  1. Congratulations on having your painting used on the book’s cover! I loved your quote by Motherwell which speaks to me of being understood at a level deeper than language.


    • Thank you Annette. You are so right. Is that not what art is all about? When a piece of music / painting / sculpture / performance / poetry etc., moves you, it is almost impossible to describe in language how that feels. I wept the first time I encountered Rothko’s paintings for the first time (Tate, London). Felt the sensuality of Titian’s Venus in his ‘Bride of Urbino’ painting (Uffizi, Florence). Visualize pastoral landscapes when listening to some of Debussy’s work.


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