Kerman Week 15 - Fugue
By Eric Wagner, guest blogger
This week please read chapter 9 (pg. 269 – 302) and listen to Op. 133 and the first movement of Op. 131 repeatedly. Please comment on this week’s reading/listening and continue to comment on previous weeks’ readings/quartets.
I hope all goes well. I love this chapter, and I find these two fugues endlessly fascinating. The theme of fugue links this chapter with two works of central importance to Bob Wilson, the Hammerklavier and the Ninth Symphony.
Pg. 272 – Kerman sees the first movement of Op. 131 as a clue to the music Beethoven might have written if he had lived longer. Phil Dick said the same thing about the new ending to Op. 130. (I sometimes think of “I’ve Got a Feeling” as a clue to the sort of music the Beatles might have made if they didn’t break up.)
Pg. 274 – I find it interesting that Kerman finds the Op. 131 fugue Beethoven’s most accomplished. I love the reference to Alice’s White Knight on this page.
Pg. 276 – The connection with Bach “Art of Fugue” makes me think of Goedel Escher Bach, another Wilson favorite.
Pg. 300 – I like that Kerman comes right out and calls Op. 131 Beethoven’s greatest quartet. I don’t know if I agree, but I like his forthrightness.
Pg. 302 – Kerman emphasizes the power of repeated listenings. Kerman wrote a wonderful textbook called Listen, and he often emphasizes the power of listening, for which one needs neither virtuosity nor a deep knowledge of music theory.