Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.
According to popular folklore, every French town has a street named after 19th-century writer Victor Hugo. While the “Les Misérables” author was not beloved by the imperial Bonapartist regime — which forced him into exile for 19 years — he collected friends among many creatives, especially musicians. Besides being close with pianist Franz Liszt and conductor Hector Berlioz, Hugo also wrote the libretto for Louise Bertin’s “La Esmeralda,” an opera based on his 1831 novel “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.” Today, Hugo’s texts have inspired more than 1,000 works of ballet, opera, and musical theater, and every two years, in the Channel Islands, fans celebrate him at the Victor Hugo International Music Festival. With this quote, he underscores how our feelings can be intensified and alleviated by the movement of melody. From a single piano to a symphony of 100, music can conjure a shared emotional catharsis from thin air.