From The Happiness Diary (by Nicolae Steinhardt), transl. Gabriela Ailenei
Lucerne, 1938: I imagine Brahms composing his Symphony No 1 at night, in Vienna, toward the end of spring. The composer leaves the kafeehaus late and decides to walk home. He passes the Votivkirche.
It’s chilly. It rained. From time to time, you can hear, as it moves away, the distant sound of thunder. The last trams race past.
Around the composer, the melancholy of life gathers – its longings, fleeting happiness, everlasting beauty, nostalgia. It is especially because he knows he must die that a man’s soul is enchanted by so much evanescence and the world around him seems so solid.