Monday, July 12, 2010

RAW and Zelenka

Robert Anton Wilson loved classical music -- one of the many things I like about him -- and particularly championed the music of Ludvig van Beethoven. But he also made a point in his writings to call attention to a much more obscure composer, Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679-1745).

The THE HOMING PIGEONS (third in the SCHROEDINGER'S CAT trilogy), Frank Dashwood hears Zelenka's Concerto for Harp on the radio in the first chapter and notes that it sounds "like Bach" and comes from the Baroque period. In the "No Limits Allowed" chapter towards the end, Dashwood reads about Zelenka when Dr. Hugh Crane hands him a book called THE ANSWER.

Wilson's THE ILLUMINATI PAPERS describes Justin Case (at the end of "Beethoven as Information") as a music critic who likes Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Vivaldi and Zelenka.

After I saw that, I looked up Zelenka in the Wikipedia (the above link). See also the Discover Zelenka Web site, which asserts, "Most musicologists dealing with music of this period [e.g, the Baroque] agree that the compositions of this long-forgotten musical giant approach or equal those of his contemporaries Bach, Händel, Vivaldi and Telemann in their advanced use of counterpoint, their extreme demands on the players and singers, their ingenuity and resourcefulness, and their overall beauty. "

I plan to check out some of Zelenka's music from the local library.


Eric Wagner said...

They often play Zelenka on Music Choice on Time Warner Cable, and I always think of that passage from _Schroedinger's Cat_.

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