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Friday, 18 May 2012

Alban Berg to Helene Nahowski - Thursday - spring 1909

There is a delicate scent in my room. I have before me the second of your lovely veils, and when I press it to my face, I can almost feel the sweet warm breath from your mouth. The violets you picked for me yesterday, which nearly withered in my buttonhole, are now blooming anew, and smell soft and fresh. The cushion on the divan and the chair by the window belong to you, Helene, they have become appendages to your present. Indeed everything in my room is the same: the mirror in front of which you arranged your hair; the window I have seen you looking through so seriously (even in our gayest moments); the last pale rays of sunlight which make your hair gleam gold; the glowing fire in the stove; and then the laurel wreath, and the dear little cover on the bedside table - everything, everything is yours.
   And there's no wonder seeing that I myself have become so entirely your 'creation'. All my possessions and even thought are somehow a loan or gift from you. Dressing in the morning, for instance, when I get an idea for a theme, a mood, or sometimes even a single chord, at best a whole extended melody - then I always feel it has come flying in from you. It's the same with everything: if I read something out of the ordinary, with difficult parts in it, I imagine myself understanding those parts and penetrating its mysteries only through you, Helene. I mean this reading in the wildest sense. If I look at nature with the eyes of a sensitive reader, when I hear music or see paintings or - but why go on with a list of all the things which have come to life in me only through you?

  Oh, Helene, how can I live without you!
                       I am completely yours