Giving my “philosophical attention” at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music…

… from the introduction to the recent Schubertiade at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music by violinist Goetz Richter, on paying attention.

This is my story:

I went to the Schubertiade at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music – miracle to find this concert just when I arrived in Sydney for a brief visit … Sublime music, beginning with Sonatina in G minor.

I sat beside a man who looked familiar, so I asked him if he’d been at Sydney uni when I worked there. No, NSW, engineering. He’s also a violinist so afterwards we talked. He asked, Where do ideas come from? Did Schubert wake up one morning, and lying in bed, think: Today I’ll write a sonata?

I couldn’t answer, standing there under a clouded moon, waiting for my friends. But later I remembered what I’d once written: ideas are plucked from the ether, from a walk in the park, a remark overheard on the bus, the flight of a bird … watery deeps… certain music.

Schubert wrote Fantasie in F minor for his unrequited love, so you see… one never knows …

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