Recollections of Stravinsky

C.F. Ramuz at Music and Literature:

We made each other’s acquaintance among things and by way of them. Once again, I don’t remember anything about the subject of conversation: what I do remember is the perfect harmony the bread and wine afforded us. For instance, I could immediately see that you, Stravinsky, like me, love bread when it’s good and wine when it’s good, bread and wine together, each for the other, each through the other. This is where your personality and, by the same token, your art—in other words, all of you—begin; I took the outermost path to this inner knowledge, the most terrestrial road. There was no “artistic” or “aesthetic” discussion, if memory serves; but I can still see you smiling at your full glass, the bread you were brought, the carafe. I can see you picking up your knife and the quick, decisive gesture with which you separated the rind from the lovely semi-firm cheese. I came to know you amid and through the kind of pleasure I saw you derive from things, the so-called “humblest” ones; a certain brand and quality of delectation that gets the whole being interested. I love the body, as you know, because I can scarcely separate it from the soul; mostly I love the great unity of their total participation in such a maneuver, where the abstract and concrete find themselves reconciled, where they explain and elucidate one another. For many young ladies, a musician is a big forehead with “ideas” inside (God only knows which ones!): you showed me right away that the musician who invents a sound might be the furthest thing from a specialist, and that he distills it from a living substance, a substance common to all of us but with which one must first make direct and human contact.

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