Kerman Week 6 – Op. 18, No. 6 – The Last Third of Chapter 3By Eric Wagner, special guest blogger
This week please read sections four and five of chapter 3 (pg. 71 - 86) and listen to Op. 18, No. 6 over and over again. Please comment on this week’s reading/quartet and continue to comment on previous weeks’ readings/quartets.
I hope all goes well. We have reached the end of the Op. 18 quartets. When I first read this book in 1991, this section blew me away. I photocopied the music for “La Malinconia” and put in over my desk at Scottsdale Memorial Hospital where I worked at the time.
I do find myself going back to the table of contents over and over again because I do not remember the keys of the Op. 18 quartets. When Kerman refers to the F-major quartet, I go back to the table of contents to see, oh yes, Op. 18, No. 1.
I love the comment Kerman makes on page 76 before he begins his close analysis of “La Malinconia”, “(And about time, the analytical-minded read may grimly exclaim.)” The rest of the Op. 18 quartets blur together in my mind, but “La Malinconia” continues to fascinate me. Alas right now, it seems a perfect mirror for my psychological state in trying to stay caught up on my paperwork at work.
Tom asked me about my 11:32 Beethoven piano sonata project from six years ago, so I’ve attached an old blog:
The Seer of Cleveland asks, "Can you explain again why you are listening to each sonata 11 times? I know you explained that before, but I can't find the answer."
I find it fascinating how much access we have to music in 2012 C.E. For most of human existence, to hear music one had to hear live people (or birds, dolphins, waterfalls, etc.). During my lifetime I've mostly heard recorded music. Now, I love recorded music, but I think in a McLuhanesque sense our whole relationship with music has changed over the past 150 years. (I love Paul Schrader's essay on the film canon which deals tangentially with this issue - .) I remember reading an article about a guy who said his father had a life goal of hearing all nine Beethoven symphonies. The father traveled all over Germany to accomplish this goal. Now with recordings one can easily listen to all nine in one afternoon.
I have mostly used music as background for the past thirty or so years. I have it on while driving, reading, working, etc. I have tried over the past few years to spend more time just listening to music. In Finnegans Wake the number 1132 shows up over and over. The fact that the Big B had written 32 piano sonatas nagged at me for years, and I decided to listen to each sonata eleven times. I find it hard to find time sometimes, but over the past two years I've made it through the first 23 sonatas. I find it a wonderful legal means of consciousness alteration much like reading great poetry out loud.