ah, S-A, I fear that everything you say makes me realise more and more strongly how un-romantic - anti-romantic indeed - are my own relationships with music and the other arts - and in fact the whole Weltangschuung bizniss -
Originally Posted by Serial_Apologist
What I respond to in music is form, poise, clarity, wit, emotion conveyed by use of the constraints of form, gusto, sparkle, - did I say wit? - intelligence, craftsmanship, colour, pace, stylish panache, restraint, discipline, joy, delight, humour, self-awareness.
What I dislike is 'emoting', splurging, wearing one's heart on one's sleeve (and thrusting it in yer face), gushing, sentimentality, 'enthusiasm', personal references, cow-pats, showing the need to demonstrate that you have Great Passions and can do Despair and Grief (sob, sob), swooniness, over-egged puddings, film music...
You get the picture
I had to think quite hard and mess around with the following before posting, so I hope this comes across as articulate...
Originally Posted by vinteuil
I don't think one necessarily has to equate spontaneity - which I find exemplified in my above-cited works - with impulsiveness. Would you consider John Coltrane's music 'emoting', wearing one's heart on one's sleeve (and thrusting it in your face), gushing? An awful lot of jazz falls into that category. That's what appeals to me in or as great art, or great in music. Not - I hasten to qualify - sentimentality, personal references (I presume you mean "me talking about me", as it were) or most if not all the other things listed in that sentence. Nostalgia is borderline. If someone wants to know something about me, apart from what I hope will be of use to them, they usually have to drag it out of me, these days.
Anyway, points taken - and it's not that I dislike what you best like, vinteuil... My next-door neighbour paints the most turbulent of landscapes and cityscapes, after the manner of David Bomberg and Frank Auerbach, but on personal acquaintance he comes across as the very opposite of in yer face. I often wonder - maybe he and I are "just too British"; and maybe, just maybe the reason we are attracted to powerfully emotional art and music is to live what we deny in ourselves vicariously through their vision?
All that glorious flute music this afternoon at Cadogan somehow put me in the mood for Verlaine...hope you enjoy these two poems as much as I do!
Calm in the half-day
That the high branches make,
Let us soak well our love
In this profound silence.
Let us mingle our souls, our hearts
And our ecstatic senses
Among the vague langours
Of the pines and the bushes.
Close your eyes halfway,
Cross your arms on your breast,
And from your sleeping heart
Chase away forever all plans.
Let us abandon ourselves
To the breeze, rocking and soft,
Which comes to your feet to wrinkle
The waves of auburn lawns.
And when, solemnly, the evening
From the black oaks falls,
The voice of our despair,
The nightingale, will sing.
Calmes dans le demi-jour
Que les branches hautes font,
Pénétrons bien notre amour
De ce silence profond.
Fondons nos âmes, nos coeurs
Et nos sens extasiés,
Parmi les vagues langueurs
Des pins et des arbousiers.
Ferme tes yeux à demi,
Croise tes bras sur ton sein,
Et de ton coeur endormi
Chasse à jamais tout dessein.
Au souffle berceur et doux
Qui vient, à tes pieds, rider
Les ondes des gazons roux.
Et quand, solennel, le soir
Des chênes noirs tombera
Voix de notre désespoir,
Le rossignol chantera.
THE WHITE MOON
The white moon
shines in the woods.
From each branch
springs a voice
beneath the arbor.
Oh my beloved...
Like a deep mirror
the pond reflects
of the black willow
where the wind weeps.
Let us dream! It is the hour...
A vast and tender
seems to descend
from a sky
made iridescent by the moon.
It is the exquisite hour.
LA LUNE BLANCHE
La lune blanche
luit dans les bois.
De chaque branche
part une voix
sous la ramée.
O bien aimé[e]....
du saule noir
où le vent pleure.
Rêvons, c'est l'heure.
Un vaste et tendre
que l'astre irise.
C'est l'heure exquise!
In honor of the marvelous Dutilleux we heard this evening, let's have a little Baudelaire. Did you know Dutilleux once planned to write a ballet on Fleurs De Mal, the grand masterpiece of decadence and eroticism? From that collection, two of my favorites...
Wine knows how to adorn the most sordid hovel
With a miraculous luxury,
And calls forth more than one fabled portico
In the gold of its red vapor,
Like a sun setting in a nebulous sky.
Opium enlarges that which has no bounds,
Lengthens the limitless,
Deepens time, hollows out voluptuousness,
And fills the soul beyond its capacity
With black and dismal pleasures.
None of that equals the poison that flows
From your eyes, from your green eyes,
Lakes in which my soul trembles and sees itself reversed ...
My dreams crowd about
To quench their thirst in these bitter abysses.
None of that equals the terribly prodigy
Of your corrosive saliva,
Which plunges my soul into oblivion without remorse,
And, conveying giddiness,
Rolls it swooning to the shores of death!
Le vin sait revêtir le plus sordide bouge
D'un luxe miraculeux,
Et fait surgir plus d'un portique fabuleux
Dans l'or de sa vapeur rouge,
Comme un soleil couchant dans un ciel nébuleux.
L'opium agrandit ce qui n'a pas de bornes,
Approfondit le temps, creuse la volupté,
Et de plaisirs noirs et mornes
Remplit l'âme au delà de sa capacité.
Tout cela ne vaut pas le poison qui découle
De tes yeux, de tes yeux verts,
Lacs où mon âme tremble et se voit à l'envers ...
Mes songes viennent en foule
Pour se désaltérer à ces gouffres amers.
Tout cela ne vaut pas le terrible prodige
De ta salive qui mord,
Qui plonge dans l'oubli mon âme sans remord,
Et, charriant le vertige,
La roule défaillante aux rives de la mort!
Music often takes me like the sea!
Toward my pale star,
Under a ceiling of fog or in a vast ether,
I set sail;
Chest thrown forward and my lungs filled
I climb the back of the gathered waves
Veiled from me by the night;
I feel vibrating inside of me all of the passions
Of a ship in trouble;
Favorable winds or the tempest and its turmoil
Upon the immense abyss
Rock me to sleep. At other times, dead calm, great mirror
Of my despair!
La musique souvent me prend comme une mer!
Vers ma pâle étoile,
Sous un plafond de brume ou dans un vaste éther,
Je mets à la voile;
La poitrine en avant et les poumons gonflés
Comme de la toile,
J'escalade le dos des flots amoncelés
Que la nuit me voile;
Je sens vibrer en moi toutes les passions
D'un vaisseau qui souffre;
Le bon vent, la tempête et ses convulsions
Sur l'immense gouffre
Me bercent. D'autres fois, calme plat, grand miroir
De mon désespoir!
I decided to enter although, like most of my poems, Resurrection is probably too conventionally structured for a lot of tastes.
Inspired by Mahler’s Symphony No 2
Open graves, last trumpet sounding,
woodwinds’ lonely birdsong cry.
Strings at twilight, bows descending,
as the world prepares to die.
Choirs process across the wasteland,
pilgrims on the final day.
Baton raised as if in judgement,
sweeping life and death away.
Broken rock and broken temple,
terror in the wilderness.
Good and evil weighed and measured,
darkness waiting to confess.
Now the sun and moon are equal,
now the void is bright with stars.
Cymbals crashing, souls believing,
salvation in the closing bars.
All is finished, all beginning,
silence fills the crowded hall.
Baton lowered, hands applauding,
saved at last from mankind’s fall.
Thanks for that! Curious, did you listen to the concert at home, or in the hall? Did you set out to find inspiration as you were listening, or did it all come to you later? Do let us know more about your thought process; I always find that sort of detailed "backstory" fascinating.
Well, I've been back home from the concerts for a while now, but am still floating on air. Actually, I feel too good right now to read the rest of the forum, so all that other stuff can wait. I'm completely exhausted, and it would be so pleasant to drift off to sleep feeling like this--why spoil it?
Anyway, here are two beautiful poems by the great Russian poet A.K. Tolstoy, as set by Tchaikovsky. If you only know the other Tolstoy, here's a great introduction:
I BLESS YOU
I bless you, forests, valleys, fields, mountains, waters,
I bless freedom and blue skies.
I bless my staff and my humble rags.
And the steppe from beginning to end,
And the sun's light, and night's darkness,
And the path I walk, pauper that I am,
And, in the field every blade of grass,
and every star in the sky!
O! if only I could encompass all life,
And join my soul with yours.
O! if only I could embrace you all,
Enemies, friends and brothers, and all nature,
And enfold all nature in my arms!
IN THE MIDST OF THE BALL
In the midst of the noisy ball,
amid the anxious bustle of life,
I caught sight of you,
your face, an enigma.
Only your eyes gazed sadly.
Your divine voice
Sounded like pipes from afar,
Like the dancing waves of the sea.
Your delicate form entranced me,
and your pensiveness,
your sad yet merry laughter,
has permeated my heart since then.
And in the lonely hours of the night,
when I do lie down to rest,
I see your pensive eyes,
hear your merry laugh...
And wistfully drifting
into mysterious reveries,
I wonder if I love you,
but it seems that I do!
To celebrate the programme of the Late-Night Prom, here's a prose poem Baudelaire wrote as a tribute to Liszt:
The Thyrsus - To Franz Liszt
Last edited by cavatina; 25-08-11 at 09:32.
And now, two poems set to music by Handel--the first by an anonymous author, the second after Donne:
ART THOU TROUBLED?
Art thou troubled? Music will calm thee
Art thou weary? Rest shall be thine
Music, source of all gladness heals thy sadness at her shrine.
Music, music ever divine.
Music, music calleth with voice divine.
When the welcome spring is smiling,
all the earth with flow'rs beguiling after winter's dreary reign,
sweetest music doth attend her,
heavenly harmonies doth lend her,
chanting praises in her train.
THE PRAISE OF HARMONY
Look down, harmonious Saint,
whilst we do celebrate thy art and thee!
of Musick's force the wonders show,
the most of Heav'n we here can know.
Sweet accents all your numbers grace,
touch ev'ry trembling string;
each note in justest order place
of Harmony we'll sing.
It charms the soul, delights the ear,
to it all passions bow,
it gives us hope, it conquers fear,
and rules we know not how.
Handel also composed many lieder after the poetry of Barthold Heinrich Brockes...I like this one:
In the multicolored blooming fields,
into shadow-rich forests,
rule in quiet isolation,
innocence, and satisfaction.
Far from urban tumult,
as in an earthly heaven,
I find here the golden time.
ah, such wonderful poems. Must revisit e e cummings. Meantime, here's one I'd like to share...
When the circles stop
There are 18 people on the stage.
A sweet croaking forest.
Bass and break-neck speed
Hits - humbling, soft,
shifts our spines into shape,
chimes our souls awake,
spirals into the arena then pulsates
like two grass snakes intertwined.
Nobody up front stakes a solo claim.
Here lives harmony.
Everything with horse-ears tamed
to listen to the earth clock we’re inside,
to the rising tide,
to the crickets and tree-frogs,
to the funk of sound that intoxicates
like lingering frangipani.
When the circles stop
we walk to the underground,
catch the last tube,
sit under neon lights.
Good evening, littlefox, and welcome
Nice poem - is it yours?