Brad Mehldau is an interesting cat, and interviews with him are rarely just about playing piano, which of course he is. Here is an excerpt from an interesting 2003 talk with him by Mike Brannon at AllAboutJazz:
AAJ: There’s a quote attributed to you, that, “Romanticism implies nostalgia for damaged goods”. How is that so, musically and/or philosophically? Can you explain the reference and it’s meaning to you?
BM: I understand life as marked by certain primary experiences that happen early on that involve pleasure, followed by the pain of being disconnected from that pleasure, and the rest of life spent trying to make sense of that pain. That first moment of disconnection is like a shattering of glass that rings in your consciousness for the rest of your life, informing everything you witness and experience. It’s that shattering that leaves the mark, I think – not the experience of pleasure itself. Nostalgia is trying to beautify that moment when everything shattered and broke – trying to make sense of the pain. Music is heightened nostalgia: music is that lost pleasure in a continuous process of being shattered. It’s like this beautiful thing being held in front of your face that disintegrates if you try to touch it.
Click here to read Brad Mehldau’s Opening, Middle and Endgame