Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Goethe


It was Patty's, Joe gave it to Linda. In the front window of our kitchen a tile with a quote attributed to Goethe proclaims “nothing is worth more than this day.” A grieving person might add, “except yesterday,” I suppose, an optimist “except tomorrow.” But no philosopher, I’ll stick with Goethe. Or maybe he never said any such thing, maybe the tile artist wrote Goethe on there to make it more credible, believable -- marketable. * We see that in more than one letter ascribed to Paul. And if, as part of his agenda, John quotes Jesus saying something, it has power even if it never crossed the lips of the historical Jesus.

Thus the mind wanders, I was on Goethe.

Goethe is also quoted having described chamber music as “four rational people conversing.” Supposedly he meant a string quartet. I like Richard Walthew better, the “music of friends,” but I never heard of Walthew, while starting with Goethe adds appeal, sophistication and class. Same as some second century writer ascribing Paul, or the anonymous “John” quoting Jesus. The certitudinous aside, we have no idea who “John” actually was, only that of the four gospel writers who were canonized, he was the one with the high christology of signs instead of miracles, and ego eimi, I AM

On its way to the “music of friends,” my gardenia mind wanders down side trails; but a man can do that at 78 and tell any readers to lump it. 

But that’s what it was, truly was. Goethe and Walthew last evening at the home of friends with friends: chamber music. Piano and violin, we heard Vivaldi in three movements (some applaud at the end of each movement, some pride their sophistication and wait until the piece is finished, this is not Big Easy street jazz where you clap and chugalug another beer every time it gets loud and fast. But wandering again). We heard a fast Bach piece on piano, I was out of breath time Stacey finished it, and it wasn’t the cabernet, I only had one small glass. One large glass with two ounces is a small glass. Then Brahms, my favorite, at our church in Apalachicola I always thought the most special Sunday possible would be to hear fifteen minutes of Brahms instead of listening to my nonsense, but we never got round to it. 

Music of friends last evening, violin and piano happily with Rachmaninoff, Mary Ellen and Stacey. Then we ran off happily and lustily with Debussy and his mistress into the music of love, piano. We got a taste of every composer's history, including that, Debussy's scandal, which sounded as exciting as the music.

Perhaps the most moving of the evening, John Williams‘ music for Schindler’s List with the theme in which you could hear the chilling WeeeWaw WeeWaw WeeeWawWeeeWawWeeeWaw and, closing your eyes as I did, actually see the Gestapo van with siren screaming as it headed for the ghetto while in the background unsuspecting human beings were dancing to a fiddle a la Fiddler on the Roof. A ghetto that bitter winter of 1941. Then Remembrances of how wonderful life was before. The unspeakable era des Dritten Reichs later yielded music that might be described as chilling, bitter. My orientation week at LTSG was spent deeply immersed in the Holocaust, which I always wondered if that was because some of the faculty, including the seminary dean, a distinguished German scholar, were veterans from the evil side of history. Well, both the Holocaust and Flannery O’Connor. The music of John Williams is expressive, while writing hardly gets more gothic, almost holocaustic, than O’Connor. 

Here we go wandering off into the brambles again, too much unrelated spills out of the mind at 78. Might as well pour it out now, when it's gone it's gone, drink up.

Duo chamber music ended happily with Fritz Kreisler, whose violin I remember well and fondly from my earliest life because my mother’s 78 rpm record collection included his music, and listening to his radio performances in the 1940s. 

An evening of music with friends ratified Goethe. Nothing is worth more than this day remembering last evening's gathering of friends conversing in music. And Arthur with rosin for the bow.

TW

* No, Goethe must have said it, it's in every online list of his quotations.

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