Monday, May 6, 2019

The Earth Will Shake reading group, Week 11

Mozart in 1763 as a small child. 

This week: Please read from page 209 ("One week later that letter was posted to Napoli ... ") to page 229 ("Their music isn't as good as ours, either.")

I loved all of the discussion of English political ideas in this section, and the Turk's Head Tavern was a real place. But my favorite bits were the discussion of classical composers such as Mozart and Johann Sebastian Bach and Johann Christian Bach.

The description of Mozart sounds rather as if RAW was influence by the movie Amadeus, although in fact the movie came after the book; did Wilson see a production of the play it was based on?

I have a big online library of Mozart's music. The depiction in The Earth Will Shake of Mozart's precociousness and talent is hardly an exaggeration. My favorite fact about Mozart is simply that he was only 35 when he died. His production in his brief life is astounding. Even allowing for the fact that many of his early works are little performed today, it's painful to think about what he could have written if he had lived another ten years; many of his most famous pieces were written in the last few years of his life. By comparison, Beethoven made it to 56, and J.S. Bach to 65.

Some of my favorite Mozart works: The Marriage of Figaro (I still haven't heard many of the operas, but then again he wrote 22!), symphonies 39, 40 and 41, piano concertos 20, 21 and 24, piano sonatas 11 and 14, the Rondo in A minor for piano, the piano quartet in G minor, K. 478. The latter is not famous, and in fact there is a large body of not famous Mozart pieces that are also very good. You can buy a huge amount of Mozart for almost nothing if you search for "Bach Guild" at Amazon's online music store.

Johann Christian Bach, the "English Bach," tutored Mozart and is buried in London. 


Rarebit Fiend said...

I cued up Piano Sonata 11 from your list and in the spirit of Oz's gematria while reading today's passage.

RAW slips in some digs at the American legal system and ridiculous regard for the Platonic idea of "the law." I gag every time I hear some candidate invoke fucking law and order. One of my favorite touches from Professor Palmer's Terra Ignota is that the statue of Justice now has her veil partially lifted by Forbearance and her sword restrained with Mercy. Also his Georgian cant is a nice humorous touch. I always love when RAW does voices for us. Lord fuck-a-duck.

I am very interested in understanding how any modern conservative believes they have anything in common with Edmund Burke. (Other, and I'm being generous, a general apprehension of sweeping change.) And here I am contributing to the name calling.

One of my favorite poets, Ernest Dowson, claimed he was a Jacobite when asked about his political leanings in the 1890's. The absurdity and outmoded royalism of the idea has been hypothesized to bolster his decadent persona.

Funnily enough the last full paragraph of pg 213 has a lot of verbal parallels to our current situation; free speech purism vs. enabling demagogues has cropped up over and over these past few years like some awful leitmotif.

I've switched to Rondo in A minor.

"He made several remarks about the king's German ancestors that were quite amusing, although very indiscreet; and I doubt that it is biologically possible for such unnatural unions to bear progeny."

"It seems I was brought home in a wheelbarrow."

"Will there be an age where a writer is free to say all he knows?"- Yes, Sigismundo and its generally pretty awful. This line follows a lot of reflections that haven't transitioned very well into our current age- while I feel Sigismundo's initial impression of the industrial works of England, as something from the Inferno, is meant to echo Blake's "dark Satanic mills" and a neophobic reaction to technology; especially in the sentences after as Sigismundo grows to appreciate the machinery and wind it up with lofty "science" and prosperity our current economic/environmental crisis would indicate that there is something beyond neophobia/neophilia (or science vs. Ludditism etc etc) to a negative impression of industrialism. There certainly was a specter hanging over Europe and the boldest and most predatory are secure in their role today. In the vein of what Calvi, or was it Gelli?, said about "The Godfather"- if you want to understand the modern world, watch Veep.

Finishing with Symphony 39.

Hume is perhaps the most potent philosopher in my mind and I not so much as wrestle with his ideas than cower before their irreproachable Correctness. The book "Rousseau's Dog" is an entertaining light history about two of the most interesting, in my experience, philosophers that are mentioned in tEWS.

Do the histories record any such incident as 9 y/o Mozart being rescued from a runaway cart?

"I am like a man who with great effort and struggle has succeeded in devising a crude printing press, fifteen years after Gutenberg." I too, feel as if I am only ever learning how to do new things badly that are just old things others have done well.

"I didn't argue that, since I didn't know the facts." Wisdom.

Oz Fritz said...

In awe of his prodigiously precocious talent, Sigismundo calls the young Mozart, the Monster. This seems a reflection and indication of the fear mainstream society has of innovators so far ahead of the curve that they can't be understood at first. This seems related to the fear peasants had of Frankenstein's Monster. Sigismundo stopped calling Wolfie the Monster when he got to know him better.

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and its connection with the Holy Virgin gets a few mentions this week.

p.220: " ... 333 scatological references to the Virgin Mother..."
333 = a number of chaos and dispersion. This seems to fit with the Notre Dame fire synchronicity.

p.224 After saving Mozart from runaway horses Sigismundo thinks: "The will say he was saved by 'an unknown Italian merchant or, as some claim, a Polish count'" This seems an interesting phrase when counted. For one example: Polish = 255 = Cantatio elata, a Latin phrase that I translate as sacred or glorified songs.

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

@Rarebit, Perhaps another parallel of the current situation with the Internet with the technology of the Industrial Revolution is that it takes a while to figure out what to do with the downside. And also that transformative technologies have a lot of effects. The same technology that lets me communicate with RAW fans also gives a microphone to assholes on social media.

I don't have a glib solution. On Twitter, I've learned to mostly read Tweets using curated lists. I think Ted Hand simply blocks a lot of people. I don't know how to cope with Facebook except to mostly avoid it.

Yeah, I love the "I didn't argue that, since I did't know the facts." It seems like with social media, there's a lot of pressure to have an opinion on everything. I have no idea whether the winning horse in the Kentucky Derby should have been disqualified. I don't know anything about horse racing.

Rarebit Fiend said...

My problem, and admittedly oblique point that was couched in a run on sentence from hell, is that we truly haven't figured out how to deal with the bad parts of the Industrial Revolution and it seems the price tag was much larger than anyone bargained for. (Blake was right! He always is!) You know me and my sourness Tom. On the same token I'm not sure that we will figure out social media, mob psychology, democracy or any of those ideas any time soon. My strategy is to avoid social media.

I am perpetually confused that the Kentucky Derby is still an event.

@Oz and Tom- have either of you read The Manuscript Found in Saragossa by the Polish Count Jan Potocki? It's my favorite gothic novel and is in the vein of Vathek insofar as it draws from the Alf Layla. It also draws in a lot of qabalistic references- my favorite line "I can see from the lack of sorrow in your eyes that you are not acquainted with cabala." (Spoken by the exasperated daughter of a qabalist.) Potocki, who I think was a balloonist like the compiler magician Francis Barrett, ended up shooting himself with a silver knob broken off a sugar dish. He believed he was turning into a werewolf.

Rarebit Fiend said...

I hate to be the guy in the sandwich board by we’re all gonna die unnatural deaths at this point. If Pound was correct and there is no such thing as free speech without free radio why do the same people that say they’re free speech purists also have a problem with poor people having smartphones? I’m sad about everything because so much that is good and comfortable in in my life has been born of misery elsewhere. Energy is neither created or destroyed, that means it has to come from somewhere. Imagine thinking that societal/economic success equaled a metaphysical concept of goodness- imagine taking Ayn Rand seriously- that’s a lot more dangerous than Reader’s Digest.

8 injured today and 2 arrested- no deaths. I actually thanked God instead of weeping. Children were fucking shot at. Again and again and again and again and again. And most of this country is going to shrug their shoulders and say something about the 2nd Amendment and how the 2 children that perpetuated this crime, shaped entirely by our corrupt fucking society, should be murdered by the State while mouthing on an on about how abortion is murder and pedophiles are in charge of the pizza joints. Won’t someone think about the children? 0

If the government has to exist than it should wipe my ass. I don’t give up control of my life for anything that doesn’t benefit me nor should anyone else ever. The problem facing humanity is how to mesh all of our ventures into something harmonious; competition and inequality are tedious and tiresome. The social contract is the foundation of true libertarianism: an acknowledgement of the necessity of general welfare and governance- we are all Hobbes’ children, aren’t we?- while insisting on individual autonomy and nobility- we are all Rousseau’s children as well, nicht whar?

"Everything relevant is ruled irrelevant. Everything material is ruled immaterial. An ex-citizen." The ashes of his Army Reserve discharge went to the Secretary of Defense with a briefer note: "Non serviam. An ex-slave." That year's income tax form went to the Secretary of the Treasury, after he wiped his ass on it; the note said: "Try robbing a poor box. Der Einziege." His fury still mounting, he grabbed his copy of Das Kapital off the bookshelf, smiling bitterly at the memory of his sarcastic marginal notes, scrawled "Without private property there is no private life" on the flyleaf, and mailed it to Josef Stalin in the Kremlin.

Oz Fritz said...

@Rarebit Fiend, I haven't heard of The Manuscript Found in Saragossa by the Polish Count Jan Potocki until now. I might have to read it just for the coincidence in the title. Not sure if it was Pliny the Elder, Pliny the Younger, or Pliny the In Between who first uttered the famous statement, "Don't let the bastards get you down." Keep the lasagna flying. Keep the Guinness in Orbit.

I'm having a great time reading Beyond Chaos and Beyond. I started with Scott Apel's excellent memoir. Supposedly I've read most of the rest of it having been a subscriber to Trajectories though it all looks new to me. There is a subheading titled something like: "The Only Real Wisdom in this Section" In which Apel asks RAW for advice on his 50th birthday about becoming a better human being or something like that. The third point RAW tells him coincides with a blog I wrote about 6 or so years ago right after the Sandy Hook shootings. Cue up Led Zeppelin.

Rarebit Fiend said...

Thanks Oz. That was a wonderful post and was very cleansing to read today. I really appreciate it and I'll go ahead and follow your advice this weekend, and hopefully onward.

Was it you or someone else that I read who ultimately said that they didn't care for Beelzebub and the Beast? Please feel free to email me!