It seemed to be on the verge of beginning over and over again, as though a musical expression of emotion were gathering its forces, but then it would immediately break up into fragments of musical themes expressing some other emotion, and sometimes simply into nothing but the composer's whims -- unrelated but extraordinarily complicated sounds. But even the fragments of these musical themes, though some were good, were disagreeable, since they were completely unexpected and unprepared for. Merriment, sadness, despair, tenderness and triumph all appeared without cause, like the emotions of a madman. And like a madman's these emotions passed away equally unexpectedly.
Throughout the performance Levin felt like a deaf man watching people dance. He was in total perplexity when the piece came to an end. He felt exhausted by the unrewarded strain on his attention.
Yes, precisely. It's as if he was in my head on those occasions Mr. W. has dragged me off to a Ring Cycle.