Several weeks ago, I wrote a post comparing texture in music to planting design. The other day, I read this quote by one of my favorite landscape architects in the world, London-based Tom Stuart-Smith, which also compares music to the garden. Like everything he does, the quote is simple, yet briming in shimmering detail. Enjoy!
"I rarely listen to music while I’m working since I cannot concentrate. But instead, some musical phrase takes up permanent residence in a chamber of my ind and accompanies me through the day. In one very facile respect music is like a garden, with its contrast between form and content. The formal structure of music is often quite rigid, as with sonota form, which is then contrasted with the embellishment of detail.
"With Beethoven’s late quartets and piano sonatas, contrast is taken to an extreme: an almost savage starkness and sparse construction is set against passages of eloquent lyricism or gaping silences. If this music depicts anything, it is a succession of emotional experiences. Perhaps this is like a garden, with its crescendos and diminuendos, its sudden bursts of energy and silences—all set within an overriding architecture. Doesn’t the garden at its best become an abstract expression of man’s connection to the world beyond himself? Like music . . . but just a little less turbulent than Beethoven.”
Landscape architect Tom Stuart-Smith. Quote originally appeared in Garden Design Journal, September 2004