I have a bit more homework for those of you who are studying landscape gardening with me. Of the two pieces of classical music I asked you to review at home, I wish you would pay particular attention to a Beethoven composition, his 3rd piano concerto, the first and second movement.
You will remember I offered the analogy that much in classical music is to the ear as classical landscape gardening is to the eye. Beethoven’s 3rd piano concerto, in my view…..that is from the view of a professional landscape gardener, not a professional musician is the best example I can think of to prove my point.
I also declared “No one should ever go from birth to death without knowing Beethoven”……and the 3rd piano concerto is a good one for our landscape gardening purposes. Likewise, no one, certainly no one of Western background should go from birth to death without knowing the classical landscape garden.
I am going to list a number of nouns which come to my mind which I would like you study after you have listened uninterupted and fettered to the Beethoven piece….No phone call interruptions please.
A landscape garden is a place, a piece of ground luring the visitor to enter to find inspiration, quietude rest, joy, solitude, peace, memory to contemplate the wonders of the beauty of what is being seen and the fragrances perceived, to reflect upon memory and knowledge of ones contentments with life.
It is the place where throughout human history regardless of cultures, one is thought to be closest to God.
I have often said today’s Minnesota landscape garden will never ever again be seen. Like a staged ballet, or the most moving symphony performance, what you have just seen or heard performed is gone forever. I also suggest that your listening to Beethoven’s 3rd piano concerto as happens with so much of Beethoven’s creations, will also be unique in your experience. You will never quite hear the concerto or the sonata or the symphony or the romance and so on, in the way you have just heard it……that is, if you have been paying attention to the composition rather than talking on the cell phone or watching television tolerating background noise. One needs to enter Beethoven’s music as one enter’s the landscape garden.
And, Beethoven is a landscape gardener for the music world. He has the great advantage of having his work recorded….and recorded in many ways. The art of landscape gardening is truly ephemeral. What you see today will indeed be never the same. The keys of the piano or trumpet or the strings of the violin don’t keep changing their color, their size, and their cover and form…..not only every day, but every season and therefore, every year.
But for today…..Go to a landscape garden….to mine, perhaps, or to Nancy’s, or to the conifer garden at the Courage Center in Golden Valley. You are welcomed any time.
With this magnificent springtime, so long with weather so abiding, pick your day and enter your landscape garden thinking of and remembering the Beethoven you have been told to listen to so profoundly. Walk the paths, listening and thinking what words are usable…..to both art forms….what words are matching and which are comparable….One art form commands the mind through the ear….the other the mind through the eye. How do the emotions, the melodies of sight and ear relate one to the other…….I suggest you think of these nouns before your garden walk:
color, rhythm, harmony, pause, crescendo, hilight, tension, tempo, repetition, drama, key, speed, height, depth, line, fragrance, dissonance, contrast, shadow, light, form, horizontal, vertical, shape, mask, anticipation, shock, rest, quietude, volume, shade, flow, movement….minor- major, life and death….rise and fall.
I am sure you will be able to add other provocative words to this list.
Now walk through the landscape garden again and try to unpuzzle the puzzle. Do not look for exact answers. Examine what you feel and think.
Explain what I am suggesting you explain: Match the words up the best you can to both the art for the ear and the art for the eye. Match them one for the other art the best you can. Are the tricks to achieve the pleasures, moods and impresseions pretty much the same? I don’t think it will be easy. If it is, you should be the instructor, not I.
I deeply believe in the similarities of these great art forms. We have few landscape gardens in our country….there are some. There is a lot of rap ….and the cookie cutter installation around.
Some of you might want to examine Sunny’s garden in Dinkytown, a surprising location for an exquisite display of Beethoven for the eye. We have addresses of others grounds as well. Please email me for the listings……limited to classmembers and their families and friends.
And now a moment of sadness. The vast majority of the American population has never experienced what you are now doing. They know neither Beethoven nor the Landscape Garden.