Sunday, January 06, 2008

"There is more day to dawn ....

... The sun is but a morning star." Patrick Kurp on `Hard to Set in Motion'.

Usually, I am glad to awaken, and I like the pre-dawn darkness. I would also second Alec Guinness's Haydn suggestion. The sonatas especially are consistent demonstrations of sanity. And God knows, Patrcik is sure right about Stockhausen:
I’ll take Haydn under advisement. A saner choice, certainly, than Karlheinz Stockhausen, whose passing in December belatedly brightened an otherwise drab year. The composer will be remembered for describing the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks as “the biggest work of art there has ever been.” Not surprisingly, he died of heart failure.


  1. Anonymous1:10 PM

    What Stockhausen said was 'Lucifer's greatest work of art' only the Lucifer (one of the protagonists of his cycle of operas 'Licht') was left out by the dumb journalist. Stockhausen referred to this as 'an idiotic misunderstanding'. A pity then that you mark the death of one of the greatest composers of all time who enhanced the lives of millions with such an unworthy (and misinformed) comment. If you haven't ever heard any of his music (and it would seem not), try track 9 of 'Freude' for 2 harps - one of his last works and a towering (if I may say so) masterpiece by any standards.

  2. That does not seem to be a universally accepted viewpoint. See this, for example: Art, Terror and Stockhausen. And of course you certainly may say that "Freude" is a towering masterpiece. Why wouldn't you be permitted to say that?

    And yes, I have heard Stockhausen's music, though not the piece you refer to. Actually, I have listened to quite a bit of contemporary music. I listened to Elliott Carter's complete string quartets every day over a period of several weeks in order to get to know them thoroughly. I ended up not liking them all that much.

  3. I guess I find it incredbily rude to cheer the death of anyone, much less a fellow artist. That strikes me as quite beneath one.

    Having said that, Stockhausen was certainyl capable of both incredible bloody arrogance and difficult and abstruse listening, but he also wrote Stimmung, which is one of the more sublimely beautiful vocal works of contemporary music.

    I would caution anyone against throwing out the baby with the bathwater, in their overall ignorance and desire to pronounce sweeping generalizations. The is usually a lot more complex than the soundbyte.

  4. Yes, Art, the Romans were probably right: de mortuis nil nisi bonum. I would also tend to agree as well about Stimmung. And of course your last point about complexity is spot on. As Maugham pointed out, human beings are not of a piece; blackguards can often display kindness and generosity and saints can be petty and vicious.