Monday, March 23, 2020
Ask Eric Wagner
I recently had a post in which Eric Wagner, author of An Insider's Guide to Robert Anton Wilson, answered a question posed to him on Facebook. Eric says he is willing to take other questions, so if you have one, please post as a comment to this blog post.
Here is question I asked Eric to get things started:
Tom Jackson: In honor of the the 250th anniversary for Beethoven, I would like to dig a little deeper into RAW's interest in Beethoven. What were his favorite Beethoven pieces, and did he have favorite performers? What other classical music did he seem to particularly like to listen to?
Eric Wagner: Well, Bob wrote about Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony over and over again, especially the final movement. The Hammerklavier Sonata plays a major role in The Schroedinger’s Cat Trilogy and Bob also mention it in Prometheus Rising. Beethoven’s Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Symphonies also show up repeatedly in Bob's writings, as does the very early Emperor Joseph Cantata. Years ago I asked him for his ten desert island discs. I think you published that once. I can’t find the list at present, but in addition to the above and the Beethoven Piano Concertos it included the Mozart Piano Concertos, “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”, Carmina Burana, and Scott Joplin played on harpsichord. Bob does a great job creating the musical world of Sigismundo Maldonado in The Earth Will Shake. Sigismundo particularly loves Domenico Scarlatti. Bob also loved Mahler.
I don’t know about Bob’s favorite performers. Christina Pearson and Scott Apel would know better then I would. I spent far less time with him than they did. I do remember the one time he came over to my house for a Finnegans Wake study group in 1988, I asked him what he would like to hear. He asked for a number of Beethoven pieces, all of which I had recordings of except the Triple Concerto. Then he asked for Bach’s Goldberg Variations as a change of pace.
(Incidentally, I have no news yet on when the new edition of An Insider's Guide to Robert Anton Wilson will come out. Eric prepared extensive revisions and it was supposed to be issued late last year, but it's been delayed. Eric has not received an update yet, and I got no reply when I emailed the publisher recently. Does anyone have any news on New Falcon? -- Tom)