At some point we must accept, often with some reluctance, that there are complexities we shall never grasp; in physics perhaps, music or pure mathematics. Biology is equally complex, though more comprehensible, but without ever losing a sense of wonder that everything emerges from a single cell. Evolution and the sheer range of resultant species is, for me at least, never less than mind-blowing.
This complexity is what brings me back, time and again, to Béla Bartók’s music. It is complicated, perhaps even alienating at first, but with persistence, with time spent listening to absorb and try to understand the themes, is very rewarding.
I would argue that Bartók’s string quartets are second only to Beethoven’s. It is to the first movement that I return often, which, like us, grows out of a single cell and becomes something profound, deep and beautifully complex.