How can I say I Love You?

I’m often asked in interviews why I love Schumann so much. I never answer properly – how can one explain WHY one loves anyone? Inexplicable

I ADORE the Geister variations. But yes, I love practically all Schumann – as one loves everything about a friend

– Steven Isserlis (via Twitter)

He’s right: it really is impossible to explain why one loves a particular composer….. I love Schubert, Beethoven, Debussy and Bach. I also love Mozart, Messiaen, Chopin, Rachmaninov and Joni Mitchell. They are all, for me, like friends.

If pushed, I could probably cobble together a paragraph of reasons why I love Schubert (intimacy, unexpected harmonies, lyricism, bittersweet emotions) or Beethoven, or Debussy or Chopin, but I’d prefer not to, if you don’t mind.

Somehow, having to explain or justify one’s love in this way devalues it. And why should we have to explain love – that most inexplicable, irrational, ineffable emotion – anyway?