Discontent is the flame which burns away the dross of satisfaction, but most of us seek to dissipate it in various ways. Our discontent then becomes the pursuit of `the more’, the desire for a bigger house, a better car, and so on, all of which is within the field of envy; and it is envy that sustains such discontent. But I am talking of a discontent in which there is no envy, no greed for `the more’, a discontent that is not sustained by any desire for satisfaction, This discontent is an unpolluted state which exists in each one of us, if it is not deadened through wrong education, through gratifying solutions, through ambition, or through the pursuit of an ideal. When we understand the nature of real discontent, we shall see that attention is part of this burning flame which consumes the pettiness and leaves the mind free of the limitations of self-enclosing pursuits and gratifications.



No. 11

Poulenc – Trois Novelettes for piano
I. Modéré sans lenteur
II. Très rapide et rythmé
III. Andantino tranquillo
Gabriel Tacchino, piano 

My voice as a composer, such as it is, often seems to echo that of Francis Poulenc. I find that his music continues the French tradition from Couperin and Lully forward almost as if Debussy and Ravel had never existed—as if there were Fauré, maybe, and then Poulenc. Since I adore Debussy and especially Ravel, I mean nothing negative by such a statement, and one should take it half-seriously at best. Poulenc was a complex figure—unabashedly gay, but fervently Catholic?—whose work combines effortless melody with precisely articulated harmony and orchestration. Everything in Poulenc that is uncomfortable is also beautiful. He is sometimes mischaracterized as only a composer of “light” music, but then there are works like the Mass in G, or the Dialogues des carmélites.