LUMINOUS GESTURES

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nadej_baptiste
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LUMINOUS GESTURES

Post by nadej_baptiste » Fri Aug 08, 2008 1:42 pm

I transcribed this from the 1965 CBC radio documentary "Dialogues on the Prospect of Recording," by Glenn Gould.

Robert Offergeld says:

"The older I get, the more convinced I am that Art is possibly the most luminous gesture against oblivion and death that mankind has achieved. There are very moving things done by inarticulate people in the face of death that are only realized and made explicit to the rest of us in Art. I think there have been periods in history (in the early Christian centuries and so forth) where the kind of emotional shortcut between man's sense of his present life and his conception of immortality made Art almost impossible. As we've had less and less religious activity (I don't mean in the organized sense, either, I mean just in the average personal sense), we find more and more people finding themselves; realizing their aspirations and many almost inexpressible things in Art, rather than in religious experiences. I am frequently impressed reading a great deal of modern poetry, hearing a great deal of some of the more avant-garde modern musical experiences, to find how much mysticism of one kind or another there is in them. I think the most heroic modern musicians, people who have written and worked with a great deal of dedication and without very many illusions (in the 19th century sense), are almost the pattern of sanctity in our time. I equate the greatest performers, the greatest composers, with much earlier figures...I equate them now, in my own thinking, my own private mythology, with prophets, and with people who have had various kinds of religious experiences in the past. I think it's as serious as that; I think it's that important to the human race. I think that recording is going to be read in the light of revelation, in the future."

This almost reminds me of a passage from Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann, when he's talking about Beethoven's struggle with the "fugue"...in that religion's withdrawal from music played a big part in how composers, and artists in general, went about creating these virtuosic works...

"Beethoven's violent attempts at the fugue had been those of a great dynamic and emotional spirit wrestling with an ingeniously cool compositional form that upon its knees had praised God, the orderer of the cosmos and all its many rounds, yet all the while had been caught up in another world of passions--strict, highly abstract, ruled by numbers and a chiming relationship with time" (65).

Another parallel I found with Mann and Gould is that at one point Mann mentions the fact that the piano is an instrument not to learn a skill, but to learn music -- and that once this idea of "virtuoso" steps in, the performer is isolated from the audience, as if up on a pedestal...and it is in a sense anti-musical. I can't help but agree on all points, extreme though they may seem.
--Kamila

TopoGigio

Re: LUMINOUS GESTURES

Post by TopoGigio » Fri Aug 08, 2008 2:05 pm

Ah,Baptiste preaching at capital letters :)

At the core, the cry of Fricsay to a Madame: You love not music! You
only sing the notes!
Fricsay wrote: In those days the baton wandered from Mengelberg to Weingartner,from
Kleiber to Schuricht,from Furtwängler to Klemperer and Bruno Walter.No
power in the world could have stopped us creeping up on to the organ gallery to listen to rehearsals.That was a great gift in our lives...

Ken
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Re: LUMINOUS GESTURES

Post by Ken » Fri Aug 08, 2008 2:05 pm

Great quote -- I just finished reading Mann's Doctor Faustus, which is a wonderful recreation of the popular story, and is also very entertaining for anyone who enjoys Schoenberg's take on musical theory (or even just fans of art music more generally).

Thanks for sharing!
Du sollst schlechte Compositionen weder spielen, noch, wenn du nicht dazu gezwungen bist, sie anhören.

nadej_baptiste
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Re: LUMINOUS GESTURES

Post by nadej_baptiste » Sat Aug 09, 2008 4:24 pm

TopoGigio wrote:Ah,Baptiste preaching at capital letters :)

At the core, the cry of Fricsay to a Madame: You love not music! You
only sing the notes!
Fricsay wrote: In those days the baton wandered from Mengelberg to Weingartner,from
Kleiber to Schuricht,from Furtwängler to Klemperer and Bruno Walter.No
power in the world could have stopped us creeping up on to the organ gallery to listen to rehearsals.That was a great gift in our lives...
I'm not trying to preach...Just sharing the discoveries that excite me.
--Kamila

TopoGigio

Re: LUMINOUS GESTURES

Post by TopoGigio » Sun Aug 10, 2008 4:09 am

Sorry...I was joking with your own words... :)
out of context
of the WhatsBeauty Thread
nadej baptiste wrote: I'm starting to sound like a preacher

nadej_baptiste
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Re: LUMINOUS GESTURES

Post by nadej_baptiste » Sun Aug 10, 2008 12:14 pm

TopoGigio wrote:Sorry...I was joking with your own words... :)
out of context
of the WhatsBeauty Thread
nadej baptiste wrote: I'm starting to sound like a preacher
Ah--understood!
--Kamila

Chalkperson
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Re: LUMINOUS GESTURES

Post by Chalkperson » Sun Aug 10, 2008 2:08 pm

Topo Never Misses a Thing... :wink:
Sent via Twitter by @chalkperson

barney
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Re: LUMINOUS GESTURES

Post by barney » Sun Aug 10, 2008 5:51 pm

Thanks Kamila

A wonderful pair of quotes. And I tend to agree, too. I have thought a lot about this in a desultory sort of way; it's always been on the list of things to follow up. I have to read Kant and Schopenhauer, both of whom had interesting theories on the sublime/art. But, as I get older and tireder, I find Kant hard work, and have never read Schopenhauer.

As a new person, I haven't even looked at any topics apart from the musical forum, so I'll have to look at the art/beauty thread.

cheers, barney

TopoGigio

Re: LUMINOUS GESTURES

Post by TopoGigio » Mon Aug 11, 2008 12:04 pm

Topo Never Misses a Thing... ?
Well, I read twice DrFaustus...and I only remember the first and the last pages... :lol:
Of Joseph I remember nothing.
My taste for Mann evaporated with the years..Mann ending almost as a fanatic-preacher.
---
But his first literary works are of historic/operistic glory ending with the death of a last Buddenbrook at the strasze as a nobody, or with the WarTrenches for sicky HansCastorp...he was a sarcasmman at youth,
at least :)

slofstra
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Re: LUMINOUS GESTURES

Post by slofstra » Mon Aug 11, 2008 7:17 pm

TopoGigio wrote:Topo Never Misses a Thing... ?
Well, I read twice DrFaustus...and I only remember the first and the last pages... :lol:
Of Joseph I remember nothing.
My taste for Mann evaporated with the years..Mann ending almost as a fanatic-preacher.
---
But his first literary works are of historic/operistic glory ending with the death of a last Buddenbrook at the strasze as a nobody, or with the WarTrenches for sicky HansCastorp...he was a sarcasmman at youth,
at least :)
Now that I am of age, I'm going to have to re-read Der Zauberberg.
I started Joseph a year or two ago, but got bogged down at a couple hundred pages. But it's an amazing read! I want to pick it up again when I have the energy. The best of all books with no audience!

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