Richibi’s Weblog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Category: sculptures to ponder

Piano Concerto no 3 in E-flat major, opus 75 – Tchaikovsky

so050050

        gargoyle at Cologne Cathedral

                    ______________

if I’m including Tchaikovsky’s Third
and last, Piano Concerto in my survey, 
it’s not because of its excellence, it is, 
indeed, severely flawed, but because 
am a completist – if I’m visiting the 
Cologne Cathedral, ergo, for instance, 
I’ll make my way to the very top, 
however treacherous might be the 
stairs, the gargoyles being worth it, 
not to mention the view  

first of all, it’s incomplete, Tchaikovsky
died before finishing it, you can’t blame 
him for that, though he was, curiously, 
complicit in his own demise, but I don’t 
believe this composition and his death 
are that intimately interrelated

it has only one movement, but has 
nevertheless been termed a concerto 
on the, debatably unsound, strength 
of its intention

briefly, and this is my opinion, the
movement has no lyrical moment, 
no melting melody to float you out
of the recital hall as you exit
nothing to hum, nor to whistle as 
you wistfully wend your way back 
home, nothing to remember but 
flash, braggadocio, bombast, 
expert fingers strutting their 
dazzling, even, stuff, style over 
substance, I venture, won’t be
enough to whisk you into the 
following centuries

Chopin, the other towering Romantic 
figure standing between the spiritual 
bookends of Beethoven and Brahms, 
wrote two piano concertos, of which 
his Second suffers from, essentially,  
not being his First, however mighty 
his Second herefor instance, 
proves to be in this utterly convincing 
performance, watch, wow

Beethoven, in other words, wrote the
book, two works, Tchaikovsky’s First
and Chopin’s First, tower above his 
in the public imagination during the 
ensuing High Romantic Periodafter 
which Brahms closes the door on the 
era with his two powerful masterpieces 
for piano and orchestra 

of which more later

there are other piano concertos 
along the way, but Beethoven’s 
five, Tchaikovsky’s and Chopin’s 
one each, and Brahms two are 
the basics – but let me add, upon 
further consideration, and for a
a perfect ten options, Liszt, his 
own, of two, First Piano Concerto –
what you need to consider yourself 
comfortably aware of the essentials 
of music in the 19th Century, the 
culture’s predominant voice then, 
until art, painting, took over as the 
Zeitgeist‘s most expressive medium
with Impressionism

of which more later

R ! chard

Advertisements

“The Man I Love” – the Gershwins

apollon-1937.jpg!Large.jpg

             Apollon(1937) 

             Charles Despiau

                    _______

flipping through old ruminations 
lately, that I’d left in my out box for 
whatever reason, I came across this 
number that I’d discovered on the 
Internet in order to soothe a trying 
emotional upset, when my heart is 
broken, I learn the words to torch 
songs, and wallow in their misery 
until the poignancy of the poetry 
seduces me and I revel in their 
caress, in their, indeed, excess

Apollo, my own personal deity, and 
I had split after 17 years, and though 
that story is completely different 
from the one in this torrid love song 
the anguish remains utterly the same, 
whether it’s around the man one 
loves, loved, or would love 

watch this wonderful rendition of 
The Man I Love in a version you’ll 
probably never forget, for both its 
originality and its great humanity


R ! chard

Piano Sonata no 29 in B♭ major, opus 106 – Beethoven

Front_views_of_the_Venus_de_Milo

       Venus de Milo

            _______

here and there, an artwork has presented 
itself to me as transcendent, which is to 
say that in its presence, I quivered, 
experienced verily cosmic transmission 
of energy, a sacred communication 

the Venus de Milo, in the Louvre, who
breathed, existed, as I turned a corner
and beheld her, imperiously presiding,
holding undying, immortal court, as a 
goddess indeed should, would, and
there profoundly did, and does, I  
suppose, still 

the Sistine Madonna“, in the Zwinger
in Dresden, mesmerized me from a 
distance as I approached her, along  
a long row of corridors, towards a 
resplendence that was 
incontrovertible, a very epiphany, I 
still reverberate recollecting her  
incandescent majesty

Beethoven’s Opus 106, his 
“Hammerklavier”, is such a work, 
not evident perhaps before the third 
movement, the “adagio sostenuto”,
which will, I suspect, stop you dead 
in your tracks, arrest you from its 
very first mystifying moments
magical, miraculous   

Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier” is 
the first piece of his to have moved
from being descriptive, narrative, 
to being philosophical, meditative 
in its motivation, emotions are 
evident, but evoked only in the 
context of exploring something 
grander, something metaphysical, 
you come out the other end having 
gone to church, having explored a 
spiritual environment, you exit
perhaps not absolved, but 
somehow understood, reassured
comforted, counted

a lot, incidentally, like Bach, note, 
plying his cantatas and oratorios, 
not to mention his introspective 
fugues, a not to be unremarked 
atavism, how grandchildren 
resemble, even imitate, however 
unconsciously, their grandparents, 
I even have such pictures

more about all of which later 


R ! chard

psst: something I found cute as I 
          brushed my teeth between 
          the movements, the 
          “Hammerklavier”  is in the 
          same key as my electric 
          toothbrush, B-flat major, a
          robust, I assure you, way 
          to greet the morning

Symphony no 12 in D minor, opus 112 (The Year of 1917) – Dmitri Shostakovich

assault-on-the-kremlin-in-1917-1951.jpg!Large

 Assault on the Kremlin in 1917 (1951)

               Konstantin Yuon

                    __________

the Twelfth Symphony of Shostakovich, 
“The Year of 1917”, is a lot more of the 
Eleventh, “The Year 1905”, both 
commissioned, both celebrating 
significant events of the Russian 
Revolution, both therefore steeped in 
references that now elude many who 
aren’t Russian, and certainly those who
generations elsewhere later never lived 
through these particularly local events 

but the Twelfth is shorter by nearly 
half, thankfully, I also found it to be 
unconvincing, plastic, formulaic, 
neither original, nor enthusiastic, 
tedious and uninspired, musically 
speaking, of course

or maybe I’m just getting cranky

also a music honouring a system that 
is now defunct, debunked, discredited, 
couldn’t long survive but historically
among the works of an otherwise 
extraordinary composer, think of 
Confederate monuments still standing 
in the Southern United States, or of 
those of oppressors of First Nations, 
for instance, in our very own Canada, 
though these might’ve been  
sculpted by even Michelangelos,   
an irresolvable cultural confusion,
predicament


the works are programmatic, both 
have titles to indicate a particular
referent, and should be evocative 
of, therefore, those situations, 
music, in other words, for the 
movies, but in these instances, 
without the movie, I’ve talked 
about that before 

all the movements also have titles,
apart from the time signatures, 
adagio, presto, allegro, the like,
the Eleventh, “The Palace Square”, 
“The 9th of January”, “Eternal
Memory”, and “Tocsin”, a warning 
bell

the Twelfth, “Revolutionary Petrograd”,
“Razliv”, “Aurora”, and “The Dawn of 
Humanity”

I couldn’t help but refer to Beethoven’s
Sixth Symphony, the “Pastoral”, to
compare identical musical intentions,
his five movements are “Awakening of 
cheerful feelings upon arrival in the 
countryside“, “Scene by the brook“, 
Merry gathering of country folk“,
Thunder, Storm“, and “Shepherd’s 
song; cheerful and thankful feelings 
after the storm

compare the use of the flute, the 
oboe, the bassoon, Beethoven isn’t 
using any obbligatos yet, solos for 
particular instruments, but you still 
get the feeling of country folk 
dancing, spring taking hold


let me point out that you’ll have to be
patient with the link to the Sixth
Symphony, it’s Japanese, I think, and
will require you to push the arrow in 
the middle of the screen, then wait 
out a few movie ads, which’ll nearly
confound you, but then you’ll get the
best ever Sixth Symphony I’ve ever 
heard, Herbert von Karajan at the 
helm of the Berliner Philharmoniker,
proving why he is still Zeus among
conductors

and his thumbs, goodness, anyone 
with thumbs like that is bound to 
change history


R ! chard

psst: incidentally, Yevgeny Mravinsky 
          was the conductor, equally 
          illustrious, who premiered 
          Shostakovich’s Twelfth in 1961, 
          the same conductor as in the 
          presentation here

me in C# major – Wonderland

fullsizeoutput_3da.jpeg

   “Alice in Wonderland (1977 )

          Salvador Dali

              _______

                        to Soeur Lucie-des-Lys,
                               wherever she now 
                                             may be

the school that we went to, my 
sister and I, was across the street, 
through a wild grass field, which 
we crossed diagonally, especially 
after the Soeurs de l’Assomption,
the Sisters of the Assumption of,
indeed, the Blessed Virgin, had
their convent built directly before
our house, not only the times, but 
also the nuns’ implicit intercession, 
would’ve prevented any harm 
coming to us as we wended our
innocent way across their, surely 
consecrated, ground

then down a slight hill to cross 
the stone bridge that led to the 
other side of the gully, that let  
a rill slithering through it rippl
gingerly between its two mostly
brush-covered embankments,
shrubs and disconsolate,
disoriented, displaced 
apparently, trees

then another trail, in a conversely
diagonal direction – like Alice‘s 
flipped reality in Wonderland
inverted and eventually wondrous
– climbed up the other side of the 
rise, and led across another open 
field, aridly, to our school

I don’t remember my first day, 
but I remember my sister’s, my
parents worked, therefore, 
having done this for already a 
year, I would walk her to school,  
introduce her to her teacher, I 
was seven, she was six, there 
was no kindergarten then, nor, 
by a long shot, children’s day
care centres

but already we were Hansel and
Gretel in my mind, if we became
gingerbread cookies, we’d become
so together, therefore off we went
to encounter this strange new 
world

I knew the principal, an efficient
nun, but not unkind, who later 
even taught me, she would 
introduce my sister to her first 
teacher, Soeur Lucie-des-lys, 
who couldn’t’ve chosen a better 
name, Lucy-of-the-Lilies, and 
was just as modest, utterly
inoffensive, as her adopted 
moniker

but my sister cried, indeed wailed,
she had never seen a nun before,
in their black and white attire, 
stark and ominously disciplinarian

but I had to go to my own class, 
my own new year of exploration, 
I liked school, I knew what it 
could bring, I knew my sister ‘d 
be safe with these new wards of 
our education 

especially with Sister 
Lucy-of-the-Lilies, who could ask 
for a better mystical indication
and an absolute reflection of her 
actual person, a poem in the guise
of a maidento allay, at the time,
any of my residual reservations

then again, I was Hansel, only,
who else could I trust 


later my sister met friends, and a 
whole new world of adventure,
just like Alice did in her own,
legendary, Wonderland


R ! chard

Hesiod on poets, and, for that matter, kings

1280px-1807_Thorvaldsen_Tanz_der_Musen_auf_dem_Helikon_anagoria.JPG

The Dance of the Muses at Mount Helicon (1807)  

Bertel Thorvaldsen

________

though Zeus may preside over kings,
none other than Apollo and the Muses
preside over poets, according to
Hesiod

Kalliope, foremost of the nine Muses
who tends specifically to kings, and 
to those being born of kings, in the
company of her sisters, Kleo and 
Euterpe, Thaleia and Melpomene, 
Terpsichore and Erato and Polymnia 
and Ourania, will pour a dew sweeter 
than honey upon such a one’s tongue, 
and his words become soothing, 
palliative, placating

“far shooting Apollo, however, 
presides at the inspiration of poets,
lending the lyrical notes from his 
representative lyre, not to mention 
his lyrics, derivative both terms of 
that etymological “lyre”, incidentally,  
so far has Apollo “shot”, dare I say,  
his spirit into our collective 
unconscious
 
“From the Muses and far-shooting Apollo
are singers and guitar-players across the earth, 
but kings are from Zeus. Blessed is he whom the Muses
love. From his mouth the streams flow sweeter than honey.
If anyone holds sorrow in his spirit from fresh grief and
is dried out in his heart from grieving, the singer,
servant of the Muses, hymns the deeds of men of the past  

and the blessed gods who hold Olympus, and
right away he forgets his troubles and does not remember
a single care. Quickly do the gifts of the goddess divert him.” 
 
                                                    Theogony (lines 94 – 103)
                                                                     Hesiod

therefore poets 

Richard 

psst: a friend has just passed on,
 it is a time for poets

on truth

truth-unveiled-by-time3-jpglarge

               “Truth Unveiled By Time (1645-1652)

                               Gian Lorenzo Bernini

                                           _______

a cousin once said to me about 
his father, that he was as honest 
as the day is long

though I didn’t say a word, this 
was emphatically not my opinion

but I concluded nevertheless that, 
once again, truth is in the eye of 
the beholder, not, of course, truth 
truth, the one we all would like to 
believe must exist, but the one 
which is the only one that we can 
work with, our own 

but what is true

no one knows but for personal 
intimations, truth must be, in other 
words, our individual constructions, 
a kind of existential prosetry,  
consistent story we tell ourselves, 
a walking shadowa tale / told by 
an idiotaccording to Macbethfull 
of sound and fury, / signifying 
nothing 

I imagine I am a poet

imagine 

Richard

psst: prosetry is poetry written in prose,
          see “up my idiosyncracies – a bio

“The Man I Love” – George and Ira Gershwin

apollon-1937-jpglarge

             Apollon” (1937) 

             Charles Despiau

                    _______

when my heart is broken, I learn the 
words to torch songs, and wallow in 
my misery until the poignancy of the
poetry seduces me and I revel in its 
caress

for a while now I’ve been yodelling 
along with Hank Williams, who, 
incidentally, sings in my key, though 
the accurate reach of his far-flung 
notes can be tricky

but today, I inadvertently slipped into 
this Sophie Tucker classic enough to 
change my tune

watch this wonderful rendition of 
The Man I Love in a version you’ll 
never forget for both its originality
and its great humanity

Richard

to Socrates

Socrates_Louvre

                                      bust of Socrates
 
                                           __________
 
 
                        The way to gain a good reputation
                                 is to endeavour to be what you
                                      desire to appear”Socrates
 
 
having lost faith in the natural 
philosophers, ThalesAnaximander
AnaximenesSocratesit’s no wonder
you turned to more introspective 
speculation, what is virtue rather than 
what is the world
 
but thereby you ran right into the wall
of the word, which had been there from 
the very beginning, but so intimate as 
to not be able to see the forest for its 
trees
 
what is virtue, you wondered, but 
got caught up in the fray of, even 
conflicting, opinions, making it 
clear that everyone had a different 
answer, what could that mean
 
it could only mean that virtue was in
the eye of the beholder, not as your
disciple Plato would have it, that we 
all partook of an ideal Virtue, never
real, a theoretical abstraction merely,
but serving nevertheless as its
authoritative standard
 
but who would’ve set that standard, 
you would’ve asked, never stopping 
at so fragile a conclusion, setting the 
tone for proper philosophy, however 
ill the lesson ‘s since been learned
 
the proper answer to any and every
question is ultimately another  
question, that is the true lesson of 
philosophy, an observation, sir, to 
build a life on
 
questions mean you’re  learning
 
thank you, Socrates
 
 
Richard

String Quartet in G minor, opus 10‏ – Claude Debussy

Il-ratto-di-Proserpina-Galleria-Borghese
                                        
                                    “Pluto and Persephone” (1522)
 
                                               Gian Lorenzo Bernini
 
                                                  ______________
 
 
if I’ve been away from my post for so long,
it’s either because my muse had left me, 
abandoned me to the rigours of an 
especially inclement winter, cold, driving 
rain, short somber days, weather for 
isolation, insulation, hibernation
 
or, like Persephone, I’d been abducted 
as to an Underworld, moral as well as 
meteorologicalhowever cosseted might’ve 
been there my stay, eiderdown pillows, 
blankets, books, Internet movies, concerts, 
plays, until by permission of Plutofateful 
consort, God of the Netherworld, by the
intercession of Mother Demeter, Queen of 
the Harvest, I’ve been allowed, even urged, 
to return for spring
 
where cherry blossoms are burgeoning, 
flowers bud in their variety of colours, 
birds sing, trees, like myself, begin to 
scratch out their brimming script onto 
the open-armed page of heaven
 
 
I’d left the string quartet evolving towards
Bohemia and Russia, in the capable hands 
of Smetana and Borodin respectively, from 
its solid roots in Vienna with Haydn and 
 
it would evolve westwards, of course, too 
to France eventually, as the centre of art 
shifted somewhat from Vienna to Paris in 
the late 19th Century, and spread, through 
paint mostly, the eye superseding the ear, 
wresting the cultural reins from music as 
oracle for the times, the new perspective 
of Impressionism
 
minor, his opus 10, a world away from 
the emotional seductiveness of 
Romanticism, but rather driving, electric, 
cosmopolitanteeming with traffic, it’s 
1893, the zeitgeist has changed
 
 
Richard