It was about that time that music, which had always been around me, and was identified, through the scent of a polish in the sitting-room, with the very air I breathed, gained a new and independent grip on me; I suppose it was love that made me see a Mozart concerto or a lyrical and exultant Schumann symphony not simply as a wonder in itself but as a kind of explanation of life. Like love it seemed to admit me to a new dimension of luminous purpose: music raised my expectations to an ideal level that other friends found comic or unbelievable if they weren’t initiates themselves. At school we were played some bits of Janáček, which were the most convulsively life-like music I had ever heard. I gathered up the scraps of Supraphon record-sleeve information, cryptically condensed and obscured by translation, that were all that could be found out by an English boy, and was amazed by the lateness of his flowering and the fact that this bristling old gent should be the one to confirm everything I felt at seventeen about life and sex and being out at night with winds and stars.
Alan Hollinghurst, The Folding Star