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Category: Gustav Klimt

Piano Concerto no 2 in G major, opus 44 -Tchaikovsky

beech-grove-i.jpg!Large

    Beech Grove I (1902) 

           Gustav Klimt

                 ________

if a sonata, or any composition for one 
instrument, is a meditation, a rumination,
an introspection, a concerto is its entire
opposite, it’s a declamation, a very 
harangue, the performer is not only 
before an audience, but before an
orchestra, before the conductor of that 
orchestra, that soloist had better be, 
therefore, something

Tchaikovsky’s 2nd Piano Concerto 
hasn’t cut the cultural mustard, you’ve
probably never heard of it, never mind 
heard it, not even in the miasma of our 
collective unconscious 

why

who knows, it’s magnificent

I suspect that Moscow’s distance, 
St Petersburg’s, might’ve had something 
to do with it, Russia would still have been 
a backwater to Europe, regardless of what
Catherine the Great might’ve done for its
intellectual edification, indeed a veritable 
Elizabeth the First, Queen of England
she, in her sponsorship of the arts

something like that happened, but in 
reverse, to Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele 
in art, SchoenbergBerg, Webern, the 
Second Viennese School in music, in 
literature, Robert Musil, his The Man
Without Qualities very rival to 
Proust‘s epic trip down memory lane, 
Remembrance …“, when the centre 
of gravity for the arts moved from 
Vienna to Paris in the late 19th 
Century with the advent of 
Impressionism

France had entered its Fourth
Republic by then, was to finally 
entrench its democracy, and we got 
MonetDebussy, and indeed Proust 
instead, not to mention all of that 
city’s celebrated others

leaving creative Vienna, meanwhile,
the undisputed engine of the Zeitgeist
the spirit of the times, for over three 
quarters of an earlier century, thereby,  
in the dust

New York would take over in the 
1950s, similarly, for a time, Andy
Warhol and The Factory, eclipsing 
any other town

in other words, location, location, 
location, in tandem with historical 
events


R ! chard

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“Mother with Children” – Gustav Klimt

mother-with-children.jpg!Large     
     “Mother with Children (c.1909 – 1910)

             Gustav Klimt

                 _______

Gustav Klimt has long been one of 
my very favourite painters, a large 
reproduction of a detail of his 
masterpiece, Music“, hangs even 
on one of my walls

how much is that Klimt in the 
window, I’d asked the merchant 
when I saw it from the street in 
his shop’s display

later, I invited people over, to see
my Klimt, I’ve got a very large 
Klimt, I’d say – this is before 
anyone even knew of him, I was, 
I’ll admit, a bad boy

around all that, I’ve had the good 
fortune to see many of his works
during the several times I’ve been 
to Vienna, where most of his 
wonders reside, where they grace  
that immortal city, the great hall of
the Kunsthistorisches Museum,
the Art History Museum in English, 
for instance, the Beethoven Frieze 
at the Vienna Secession Building 
and, of course, at Belvedere, the 
summer palace, where among 
other paintings of his, you can 
still see the iconic The Kiss
their national treasure

but the painting above, part of a 
private, apparently, collection, is 
utterly new to me, and therefore 
striking,

note how stark the background is
here, above, compared to Klimt’s 
usually more ornamented 
constructions, how the subject is
starkly the gentleness, the 
intimation of peace, even serenity,
in the rosy cheeks of not only the 
children, but of also the mother,
the slumber and surrendermidst 
the imprecations of the 
surrounding, and portentous,
darkness, note the paradoxical, 
genetically determined even, trust 
and love, in the consonant colours, 
cherry blossoms blooming in all 
three sleeping faces, despite the 
threatening miasma of encroaching 
and engulfing primordial earth

Shostakovich also said something 
like that in his 15th String Quartet
a fundamental harmony develops, 
despite even strident distortions, 
disturbances, in otherwise 
unbearable situations, to provide 
some solace, redemption
 
listen, I urge you, if you dare

compare the crook in the mother’s 
neck, above, a nearly Baroque angle, 
to the same docile, though resilient,
bent in Klimt‘s lover in The Kiss 
for his provocative, maybe even 
enlightening, perspective on 
women


happy Mother’s Day, mothers, for all 
your invaluable attention


R ! chard

String Quintets – Mozart / Beethoven

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           Claude Monet
 
               ________
 
 
concerned about presenting Beethoven’s 
Opus 59, the next significant string quartets 
of the early 19th Century, too early – 
Beethoven had, incidentally, at that point no 
rivals – I preferred to establish his credentials, 
rather than to enter his next phase, equivalent 
to the move from representational art to 
Impressionism in painting, a sea change,  
people would’ve balked at the very concept   
of an alternative vision, and indeed they 
were confused
 
this sea change, I should point out, challenged 
the very notions of what not only art should be, 
but also music, and literature, indeed very life 
perspectives, philosophies
 
therefore the Romantic Period, when 
expressions of personal epiphanies began 
to crowd the new democratic environment 
after the French Revolution, 1789, all of 
which would lead to, eventually, our own 
allegiance to, at least in the West, the 
concept of human rights
 
music was already, in other wordstalking,
and with Beethoven, indeed vociferously 
 
 
still adheres to Classical conditions, 
but bursts through them emotionally
 
written only 14 years earlier, one of six
of his
 
you won’t find them, perhaps, on the 
surface, to be very different, wouldn’t 
be able to even tell them apart in a
blind pinch 
 
but juxtaposing, as I always urge, 
sharpens one’s aesthetic pencil, ask
yourself, in this case, according to 
your senses, which of the compositions 
is earlier, you’ll find your senses have 
already told you
 
everything flows from that initial 
answer, when you ask yourself why  
you think that
 
 
I’d asked my mom at Belvedere, 
Vienna, whose painting hung across 
the hall we’d just entered
 
she demurred, of course, considering 
herself not up to the challenge, despite 
several visits together we’d had among 
a wonder of other European art galleries
 
I insisted
 
she tossed off, okay, Renoir, an easy 
answer, though it turned out to be a 
Degas, or the reverse, or whatever 
 
but upon reaching the painting, of 
course, Degas, she said, knowing full 
well it was himhaving lacked only the 
pluck and the confidence 
 
who’s that, I asked, turning to another
master
 
Monet, she replied, confidently
 
and was, as I’d anticipated she would 
becorrect, she can now tell her 
Rembrandtfrom her Courbets, her
Canalettos from her Vermeers also
 
we know of a lot more than we 
think we do
 
 
R ! chard

String Quartet, opus 77, no 1 – Joseph Haydn

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      The Red Cape (Madame Monet) (c.1870) 

              Claude Monet

                    _______

                                              for my mom

that’s a lot of Haydn, I said to my mom, 
when I saw the list of my transmittals in
her hotmail, hm, I wondered, maybe it’s 
too much

then I said, but it’s like when we’ve 
toured, for instance, our European 
art galleries, me propounding on 
the paintings, as I am wont, however 
incorrigibly, to do, but now, note, you 
can tell the difference between your 
Monets and your Klimts, however 
similar their perspectives

or like your tour guide taking you
recently through Argentina, 
highlighting spots, in the space of 
a month only, the same amount of 
time I’ve spent for the music of 
Haydn

pronounced, incidentally, I specified, 
like “hidin'” in English, not “maiden”, 
just sayin’

I gathered that she’d ‘ve sensed by 
now, if she’d been listening, which she 
said she had, mornings over her 
coffee, what a string quartet is, four
movements, different tempos, fast
at first, a joyful introduction, 
followed by a lament, then a spirited 
third movement, for countereffect, 
then a big fourth movement finish

also, the internal structure of each 
movement would’ve been internalized,
theme, a counter theme, a 
recapitulation of both, or either, all of 
it, probably unconsciously, which is 
how art fundamentally works till you
meticulously deconstruct it

the string quartet is the work of Haydn, 
the house that Haydn built, from 
peripheral aristocratic entertainment, 
like modern day artists sporting their 
wares in noisy restaurants, to the 
glamour of taking on, in concert halls, 
Europe, Brunelleschi did a similar, 
sleight-of-hand thing with his dome 
in Florence for its oracular Cathedral

remember that the string quartet lives 
on as a form, where no longer does 
the minuet, for instance, nor the 
polonaise, nor even the waltz, not to 
mention that concertos, and  
symphonies have become now  
significantly subservient to movies, 
secondary players


watch the instrumentalists here live 
out, in Haydn’s Opus 77, no 1, their 
appropriately Romantic ardour,
something not at all promoted in 
Haydn’s earlier Esterházy phase, to 
raise their bow in triumph, as they 
do at the end of most movements
is already an indicationnot at all 
appropriate for the earlier princely 
salons, that times have changed

Haydn was a prophet, but also an
elder, with an instrument to connect 
the oncoming, and turbulent, century 
to the impregnable bond of his 
period’s systems, the legitimacy of 
the autocratic, clockwork, world, 
Classicism, the Age of Reason, the 
Enlightenment, for better or for 
worse

we are left with its, however ever 
ebullient, consequences

enjoy


R ! chard

what’s happening in Poland

"The Kiss" - Gustav Klimt

The Kiss (1907-08)

Gustav Klimt

_______

last night, most unexpectedly,
someone I know sent me this, I
wondered if it was because of
the music, the message, or the
performance, consequently I
assumed everything

Mateusz Ziółko won the Voice
of Poland
contest in 2013, it’s
fun, despite the language
barrier – the adjudication being
all in Polish – to watch also,
during the evaluation, the judge
in blue fall apart, come entirely
undone, be unabashedly smitten,
from nearly the very first note of
this riveting audition, then spend
the rest of the show trying to get
herself back together again

much as I did, in fact, without
a camera

quiver too, enjoy

Richard

 

“Music”

Gustav Klimt's "Music"

Music (1895)

Gustav Klimt

______

not for lack of imagination, lately, but for,
rather, lack of confidence, the complaint
of any would-be poet, the complaint of
any proponent of oneself, one’s persona,
one’s own, however benign, however even
benevolent, ideas, I retreated into myself,
surrendering to forthright inspiration for
any, elusive enough, courage

inspiration, through its usual unsuspected
channels, and as ever categorically, gave
me, reliably, Music“, Klimt‘s ineluctable
masterpiece, not even for its iconic image,
but for its transcendental comment on
art’s interpretive counterpart, music

world’s meld

a “magical mystical miracle” happens, as
Katharine Hepburn, in her utterly
enchanting movie, Summertime“,
would have it, irrepressible as ever

I had to share

Richard

psst: note the juxtaposition of contrasting
colours, patterns, impressions, note
the Baroque presentation of Classical
imperatives, touched with Romantic
sensibilities, kicking off, not
incidentally, Modernism