Music in literature

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RE: Music in literature

Small world Arbutus! I have a slim paperback of Poems Two by BSJ published by Trigram Press. (The only poetry I have by him). Inside it says 'published in three editions, paperback, cloth and a signature edition of 100 copies specially bound and numbered and signed by the author'. You are very lucky then! Hold on to it.

Thanks so much for the link on Ann Quinn from Dalkey. It means I can get them at last. I passed up on the Calders when they were around and have regretted it since. Nice to talk to someone who also likes experimental fiction by British writers! (And French of course).

(Just coming back on topic - The Kreutzer Sonata story listed by Parla above is of course the one used as the inspiration and title of Janacek's 2nd String Quartet).

Another author in point is Charles Bukowski, variously described as a 'low-life literary laureate' or 'low-life literary bum'. He frequently made reference to the greats in his stories. The snippet below is typical - it's right from the start of a story called 'Doing Time with Public Enemy No. 1' from the volume 'Tales of Ordinary Madness':

I was listening to Brahms in Philadelphia, in 1942. I had a small record player. it was Brahms' 2nd movement. I was living alone at the time. I was slowly drinking a bottle of port and smoking a cheap cigar. it was a small clean room. as they say, - there was a knock on the door. I thought it was somebody come to give me the Nobel Prize or the Pulitzer. 2 big dumb peasant-looking men.

Bukowski?
yeah.
they showed me a badge: F.B.I.
come with us, better put on a coat, you'll be gone awhile.

Yes the erratic punctuation is faithfully reproduced. Maddeningly on this occasion he didn't say which Brahms' 2nd Movement, but there are other references in his stories to Beethoven, Haydn etc...His love of classical music and references to it are nicely incongruous as his stories often deal with low-life types, hard-drinking and womanising, cons etc....worth a read!

Mark

 

Fraz Jo - disapntd. Bn ringin this grl al week. No ansr...looks lke she changed her mnd. O well...Ldwg...

RE: Music in literature

Then there is James Chapman's brilliant How Is This Going To Continue (2007), a post-modern text/poem (based on the textbook of B.A.Zimmerman's Requiem für einen jungen Dichter) about the death of Kathleen Ferrier among other musical matters. In its nla book form it is fairly expensive, but if you write to him you might get him to send you a pdf...

I think it is quite clear that Schütz is the composer who arrives uninvited at the Treffen in Telgte, but would assume the composer is likely to be a composite figure in contemporary terms (i.e. Henze/Hartmann, as suggested), as indeed some of the writers are.

James Blish wrote an amusing science fiction story (in Science Fiction Stories, July 1956) called "Art-Work", in which Richard Strauss is resurrected in a new body in 2161 and pleases the future audience with stuff that is basically a warmed up version of his old works.

The composer Gustav Anias Horn in Hanns Henny Jahnn's trilogy Fluss ohne Ufer composes an unfinished symphony called Das Unausweichliche (The Inevitable)...Jahnn was also an organ restorer/reformer and music publisher who left Germany in 1933 and like so many had some difficulty in establishing himself in the post-war bien-pensant literary scene - he was a "premature" green and opposed the atom bomb, which did him no good at all. I have to admit that I have only read excerpts from this; the 2000 or so pages of modernistic prose were too forbidding, even in my youth. P.S. I would like to add that Detlev Glanert has writen an orchestral work and an opera based on this novel.

Perhaps it is necessary to mention E.Th.A Hoffmann's Kapellmeister Kreisler in Kater Murr (perhaps the first musical artist represented in world literature?) and the portrait of Mozart in the delightful novella Mozart auf der Reise nach Prag by Eduard Mörike.

 


mjwal
RE: Music in literature

Thanks mjwal. I have e-mailed Prof. Chapman so hope he gets back to me. That one in particular sounds right up my road! I couldn't see it on Amazon books...

Mark

Fraz Jo - disapntd. Bn ringin this grl al week. No ansr...looks lke she changed her mnd. O well...Ldwg...

RE: Music in literature

Balzac's novella Massimilla Doni is effectively a critique of Rossini's opera Mosè in Egitto ; it doesn't seem to have any other raison d'etre.
More recently Kingsley Amis's novel "Girl 20", dating from around 1970, is narrated by a classical music critic. I doubt though that the views of the said critic, probably reflecting Amis's own, would be agreeable to most forumites.

RE: Music in literature

http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2011/aug/21/robert-johnson-tempest-william-shakespeare-c...

Good sire Teufel and ye other scribes! Hark at this article. Was Shakespeare's last play intended to be a musical?

Mark

Added a few minutes later - sorry all I have just double checked by clicking on the link above and said link appears to be broken.

If you google as the search term references to music in Shakespeare (of which there are of course plenty and too many to mention) this Guradian article should come up towards the bottom of page 1.

I thought this article interesting on account of its explanation for the many musical references in The Tempest...

 

Fraz Jo - disapntd. Bn ringin this grl al week. No ansr...looks lke she changed her mnd. O well...Ldwg...

RE: Music in literature

To all those who have contributed to this debate - the focus by Richard Wigmore on Beethoven and Goethe is a very interesting read. Thankyou Richard.

Fraz Jo - disapntd. Bn ringin this grl al week. No ansr...looks lke she changed her mnd. O well...Ldwg...

RE: Music in literature

partsong wrote:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2011/aug/21/robert-johnson-tempest-william-shakespeare-c...

Good sire Teufel and ye other scribes! Hark at this article. Was Shakespeare's last play intended to be a musical?

Mark

Added a few minutes later - sorry all I have just double checked by clicking on the link above and said link appears to be broken.

If you google as the search term references to music in Shakespeare (of which there are of course plenty and too many to mention) this Guradian article should come up towards the bottom of page 1.

I thought this article interesting on account of its explanation for the many musical references in The Tempest...

 

Hi Mark!

Sorry that you haven't received any responses. Perhaps it's outside of most people's knowledge here to make an intelligent comment as to whether or not he had intended some sort of a masque/musical? I wish that I knew the play well, so that I could contribute. The idea is fascinating though! I imagine that there are some good sites devoted to Shakespeare that might be engaged in such a debate? Or perhaps one of the contributers to "G" might be willing to offer their thoughts? Or maybe an email to some experts on the Bard might be willing to share their thoughts with you? Anyway, good luck! And please let us know if you find out anything further!

Best wishes,

Petra

RE: Music in literature

Thanks Petra. I'm sure there are some out there reading this thread who know The Tempest well and probably better than me! When I was an undergrad, one of the most ridiculous parts of the first year course was to read all of Shakespeare's plays. Yes that's right, all of them at 2 per week, besides of course a fair amount of other reading. I remember asking my tutor (a Dr. in Shakespeare) how many we would be expected to know for the final exam and he said, 'It's not a large corpus of work'! What, you want me to revise all of them, for just one of the 8 three hour final papers? Fat chance. Such were the days of cramming it all in for the monstrous finals in one go, not like nowadays where you take each exam after each module as you go through.

Since then, over the years, I have taught probably only about six of the plays. One forgets the other 30 plus! I know The Tempest reasonably well. The interesting thing about the article is the assertion that this last play was meant to have possibly continuous  - or nearly so - music throughout which the actors spoke over the top of.

I was also kind of hoping someone might speak about F Martin's opera which I don't know, although as I say I am a fan of his. Are there any other settings of The Tempest?

There are musical lines here and there in Shakespeare which are great. One of my favourites has always been when the boy playing the lute falls asleep in Julius Caesar. He replies when awakened with, 'The strings, my lord, are false'. I don't know why I have always liked that line. There's probably many a great conductor who has thought that line!

Mark

Fraz Jo - disapntd. Bn ringin this grl al week. No ansr...looks lke she changed her mnd. O well...Ldwg...

RE: Music in literature
RE: Music in literature

The Tempest is an extremely difficult play to pull off. I've seen far too many performances that end up being a joke in all the wrong places. Have you ever seen a convincing Caliban ! Bathing it in music would seem a good idea, it is rather 'other worldly' however I get the feeling that some would use Star Trek type music and we'd be back to square one. It is certainly 'the' Shakespeare play that improves with reading, where you can bathe it in your own imagination and your own music.

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