The most beautiful thing about classical music is its ability to communicate universal feelings that a listener has not yet experienced. Feelings that flow between generations and rhyme between societies.

One day, upon returning from his travels, Johann Sebastian Bach found his wife, the mother of his seven children, dead. I have never had a wife, let alone seen her die. However, thanks to Chaconne, I don’t have to imagine how Bach felt; I can feel it instead.

Listening to Chaconne is like watching a flamingo fight a tar pit. It starts on a slow descent into darkness, like a flamingo mistaking tar in the bright sunlight for water. As the flamingo slowly approaches the tar pit, its demise is obvious to any onlooker. Yet only when its bill touches the tar does the true hopelessness of the event become evident. Under the illusion of free will, the flamingo pulls its bill, attempting to take the canonical position of its species. Through divine predestination, a black scar cuts the otherwise impeccable pink body. In panic, the animal loses its balance and steps into darkness.

The flamingo’s pink still decorates its feathers. Its original elegance is still in there somewhere. Surely the flamingo could just stay perfectly still and use its good leg as a flourish to an otherwise flawless retiré. But it will never do that again. It would be tastelessly pointless to strike a retiré in a tar pit.

In a dance of panic between the flamingo’s feathers and the tar, movements of darkness are punctuated by flashes of pink, until the dance turns into a struggle of an animal consumed by the force of nature. Periodically, it attempts to pull itself out. A pink feather, untouched by the abyss, flashes before submerging into darkness.

The most beautiful bird in the savanna is now reduced to a ball of tar. The ball expands. The retiré of the flamingo is now just a memory. Its beauty lives exclusively in the mind. The ball contracts. The flamingo now belongs to eternity. In mere days, the last remains of its beauty will have turned into rotten flesh.

Thanks to Mihai Bujanca for recommending Chaconne and reading a draft of this.