I’ve just been playing the Trout Quintet on the phonograph. Listening to the Andantino makes me want to be a trout myself.
You can’t help rejoicing and laughing, however moved or sad at heart you feel, when you see the springtime clouds in the sky, the budding branches, stirred by the wind, in the bright young sunlight. I’m so much looking forward to the spring again.
In that piece of Schubert’s you can positively feel and smell the breezes and scents and hear the birds and the whole of creation shouting for joy. And when the piano repeats the theme like cool, clear, sparkling water – oh, it’s sheer enchantment.
Sophie Scholl, a twenty-two year old student at the University of Munich, wrote this in a letter to a friend on February 17, 1943. The following day she and her brother Hans and friend Christoph Probst were arrested for distributing leaflets calling for resistance to the Nazis. They were tried for treason on February 22, convicted, and executed a few hours later.
Even had she not died a martyr’s death, Sophie Scholl would have been one of the most eloquent and sensitive writers to participate in the Christian resistance to Hitler. In the midst of the horrors of World War II, surrounded by the ever-present danger of the arrest and execution of her family and friends, she never lost sight of the beauty of the world and of joy in life:
Isn’t it a riddle…and awe-inspiring, that everything is so beautiful? Despite the horror. Lately I’ve noticed something grand and mysterious peering through my sheer joy in all that is beautiful, a sense of its creator. Only man can be truly ugly, because he has the free will to estrange himself from this song of praise.
It often seems that he’ll manage to drown out this hymn with his cannon thunder, curses and blasphemy. But during this past spring it has dawned upon me that he won’t be able to do this. And so I want to try and throw myself on the side of the victor.
Today, take a moment to listen to music that lifted the spirits of a courageous woman on her last day of freedom. The “enchanting” piano entry is at 3:00 minutes in this glorious performance by Julian Rachlin, Mischa Maisky, Mihaela Ursuleasa, Nobuko Imai, and Stacey Watton.