Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Study F for "The Moth and the Thunderclap", 1961; conté crayon on paper, Overall: 13 3/4 x 19 7/16 in. (34.9 x 49.4 cm) Frame: 25 1/4 in. (64.1 cm); The Charles Rand Penney Collection of Work by Charles E. Burchfield, 1994
Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, November 14, 1938
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
A.M. to Buffalo to have the car serviced. As I cannot get it until late afternoon, home by bus.
Fiddle around in the studio, trying out various favorite records on the Victrola phonograph.
Evening, play on the phonograph in the house, my new Sibelius Fifth Symphony. It is magnificent beyond all words; I feel as tho (sic) I had never heard it before. And the greatness of Sibelius looms ever more clear. Recently, hearing several works by Debussy, I was amazed how artificial and pointless they sounded, whereas I normally admired his music. Then, during the Intermission of the concert, Deems-Taylor mentioned the fact that Debussy was an avowed atheist. In the folder on Sibelius, he is quoted from his diary—Sept. 1915 “In a deep dell again. But I begin already dimly to see the mountain that I shall certainly ascend ... God opens His door for a moment and His orchestra plays the fifth symphony”—Is not this worship and belief in God of on the part of Sibelius, and Debussy’s denial of his creator, the secret of the overwhelming superiority of the former? This sounds like rank sentimentality, and most assuredly belief in God does not help a mediocre artist to achieve even the stature of a Debussy; but I do firmly believe true greatness, of the mountain peak variety cannot be achieved unless the artist believes in, loves, fears and worships his Creator.
It was startling today to see on Main Street an auto covered with two inches of snow; while we have had none. I realized then what the low dense blue-gray bank of clouds to the south meant.
The coldest day of Fall.
Charles Burchfield, November 14, 1938