Le Salon de Musique

The German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote: “One cannot escape the world more certainly than through art, and one cannot bind oneself to it more certainly than through art.” With extended reference to one novel, poem, play, piece of music, or work of art, please discuss what you believe this sentence to mean.

The world stops when my fingers make contact with my piano’s black-and-white keys. Music modeled after the Romantic style makes me feel truly alive—brimming with enough raw emotion to make my breath catch. Von Goethe’s statement is most relevant when I play Eugenie Rocherelle’s “Le Salon de Musique.” The song itself is generally simple in technique; its complexities come in the emotion and connection with the piece that are required to perform. Therein lies its beauty and ability to serve both as an escape and a retrieval from that escape—it provides a medium for me to enter a different world to tell someone else’s story while centering myself to better cope with the world around me.

Rocherelle's piece opens with a section that can only be described as grounding, with slow, measured intervals as a left-hand harmony to a sweet, nostalgia-inducing melody on the right hand. Its simplicity allows me to contemplate my surroundings as I play, and directs my thoughts toward the tangible—toward the present, toward whatever situation I am currently facing. The largo (very slow with great dignity) tempo designated for this section adds to its calming and centering qualities, calling to mind the scene that the piece was inspired by: a...

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