Please enjoy this program note for tonight’s Jeremy Denk Recital with Academy fellows. This program note was created as part of Project Resonance, the Music Academy’s unique program combining writing training with public engagement. Through this initiative, both Academy fellows and young scholars from UC Santa Barbara are given the opportunity to work on program notes and other written materials for the Summer Festival.
Yet a single sound, a single scent, already heard or breathed long ago, may once again, both in the present and the past, be real without being present, ideal without being abstract, as soon as the permanent and habitually hidden essence of things is liberated, and our true self, which may sometimes have seemed to be long dead, but never was entirely, is reawoken and reanimated…
~ Marcel Proust, Le Temps retrouvé (Time Regained)
To say that Proust enjoyed the music of Gabriel Fauré would be an understatement. As he gushed in a letter to the composer: “I love nothing, I admire nothing, I adore nothing except your music. I have been, and am again in love with it.” For Proust, ever fascinated by the ambiguity and evanescence of human existence, Fauré was an apotheosis of his art—at once ancient yet wholly modern, fluent in medieval modes yet harmonically audacious, employing classical formal models yet thwarting expectations.