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Category: Henrik Ibsen

Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op. 115 – Johannes Brahms

the-wanderer-above-the-sea-of-fog.jpg!Blog

    “The Wanderer above a Sea of Fog / 

            “Der Wanderer über dem Nebelmeer (1818)   

          Caspar David Friedrich

                     ___________

                              for Collin, who’ll appreciate
                                        especially, I’m sure, the 
                                             Chopin


while I’m on the subject of clarinet quintets,
since there are so few significant ones, let 
me pull Brahms’ out of my hat and celebrate 
it, a worthy challenge to Mozart’s own utter
masterpiece

but over a century has gone by, it’s 1891, 
Beethoven, the French Revolution, the 
Romantic Era is reaching its end, ceding 
to Impressionism, after the disruptions of 
rampant industrialization, and its 
consequent effects on the social contract

Marx has proposed a theoretical master 
plan to equitably protect the rest of us 
from the 1%, however too politically 
fraught, eventually, such a system – see
Communism

furthermore, Darwin had suggested that 
we weren’t all descended from Adam and 
Eve, but from larvae, which is to say, 
millennially morphed, modified, through
time, genetically, leading to festering still 
ideological  objections

Elizabeth Barrett Browning had written 
her unadulterated love poems to her 
husband, RobertCaspar David 
Friedrich had shown us his wanderer’s 
back while facing the mountainous 
challenges of the upcoming world, 
godless now after NietzscheAnna 
Karenina had thrown herself in front 
of a train, Madame Bovary had taken 
poison, and Ibsen‘s Nora had left her 
husband for a fraught, if not even 
dangerous, life on her own, to escape 
his safe but insufferable dominance, 
while Jane Eyre was finding ghosts
in her cobwebbed, and insufferable, 
to my mind, though admittedly  
aristocratic, attic 


you’ll note the clarinet is not sitting
centre stage, but has nevertheless 
a place at the table, by this time, 
though not not honoured, familiar,
and is more integrated to the 
conversation, the idea of democracy 
has taken hold, with everyone having
an equal, and even a vociferous, say

Brahms modelled his Clarinet Quintet,
on Mozart’s, the Classical structure is 
still the same, movements, tonality, 
musical recurrence, all to wonderful 
effect

that he would do that is not a given, 
but a tribute to the power of that form, 
take the waltz for instance, alive from 
even before Strauss, not to mention 
Chopin, to approximately the middle 
of the Twentieth Century

think about it, who waltzes anymore,
though they might’ve enchanted still, 
residually, the  50’s – see Patti Page
for instance – its lustre having 
dissipated, with the wind, as it were, 
the gust, before us, of the unending 
ages 


R ! chard

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Botero’s Abu Ghraib

Botero's Abu Ghraib

Fernando Botero standing before three of over 80 of his stylized
depictions of atrocities committed at Abu Ghraib

____________

the role of art has always been to bring
attention to injustice, Goya, for instance,
famously, Picasso’s Guernica“, without
which Guernica would be forgotten, in
literature the servile position of women
and those marginalized by industrialization
in the works of Charles Dickens, Henrik
Ibsen, Émile Zola, in music the strident
strains of Shostakovich indelibly
imprinting the cruel depredations
of the Soviet system in his searing
compositions, just click

Botero, as the others, has given here
impermeability to what had been merely
news items, something tragic but lost
amongst so many other tragedies, by
giving it ideological breadth, depth and
substance, giving it the modern postion
of an altarpiece, a place of ardent
contemplation

we have after all no more churches,
only malls, we rely on potent images
for our moral guidance

therefore art

Richard

“Ghosts” – Henrik Ibsen

of Ibsen‘s plays, Ghostsis the only
one that I can ever really tolerate, his
others being entirely always for me 
too didactic, preachy 
 
in this brilliant production, riveting and
unforgettable, one I feared I’d never see
again, Judi Dench is again consummate,
as Mrs Alving surely definitive, and
Kenneth Branagh, as her son, nearly as
good, from way back when he still could
act
  
enjoy, marvel, be verily enlightened
 
  
Richard 
 
psst: Henrik Ibsen (1828 – 1906)