I’ve been struggling with words all day but my problem is nothing compared to the music of that “other” deaf composer.

I haven’t made it to my usual blogging spot today because i’ve been locked in a word-wrestling match with three poems that need to be finished for some friendly publishers who’ve been offering improving suggestions. I have spent most of the day in this enjoyably intense series of word games and, for now, have put all three to one side.

Bedrich Smetana (1824-1884)

I will look at them again after a cup of tea and the highly-controlled drama that is Bedrich Smetana’s tightly constructed and dramatically vivid First String Quartet, “From My Life,” written in 1876, remarkably, after deafness had set in. Apparently his deafness was total unlike Beethoven’s who had at least a dim remnant of his hearing. Here is the third movement played by the Haba Quartet. If you don’t know this work, you are missing a musical treat. I find the clarity but complexity of the greatest string quartet music helpfully uncluttering in my own helpless scrambling for meaning.

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