"All theory is gray, my friend. But forever green is the Tree of Life."

~ Goethe
Faust: Erste Teil

28 November 2013 ·

Thomas Nast
U.S. Senators Schurz and Sumner as Mephistopheles and Faust plotting the seduction of Lady USA, 1872. The issue at hand was the investigation of U.S. arms sales to France in the Franco-Prussian War.

Thomas Nast

U.S. Senators Schurz and Sumner as Mephistopheles and Faust plotting the seduction of Lady USA, 1872. The issue at hand was the investigation of U.S. arms sales to France in the Franco-Prussian War.

(Source: http)

13 September 2013 ·

219 plays

Brahms
Gesang der Parzen (Song of the Fates), Op. 89

Monteverdi Choir/Orchestre révolutionnaire et romantique
Sir John Eliot Gardiner

"You have certainly conjured up passionate desperation," Brahms’ friend Theodor Billroth wrote to him after receiving a copy of the score to Gesang der Parzen; the composer had joked to Billroth, a prominent surgeon, that he should find the music interesting since both men shared a professional interest in scissors and string.

This “Song of the Fates” takes its text from Goethe’s drama Iphigenie auf Tauris, appropriate source material for Brahms’ final and probably least-known choral-orchestral work. The sensitive and dramatic text setting is remarkable even for a choral master of Brahms’ caliber, and may suggest something of what a Brahms opera might have been. The poem addresses the power held literally and figuratively over the heads of men by the gods, as well as their heavenly self-absorption and indifference—concepts the composer treats with a bold ingeniousness that seems far more heartfelt than contrived. 

Gesang der Parzen is not frequently performed because of its brevity relative to the large forces required, an unfortunate quality it shares with Brahms’ other choral-orchestral works excepting of course Ein deutsches Requiem. But it will certainly reward a careful hearing or two, and a review of the text may be helpful.

5 April 2013 ·

Beethoven
Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt /
Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage, Op. 112 

Monteverdi Choir
Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique
Sir John Eliot Gardiner, cond.

While Mendelssohn’s overture of the same name is better-known, Beethoven before him had been inspired by Goethe’s two-part poem depicting a ship becalmed at sea followed by a fortuitous gust of wind and concluding, of course, with the long-awaited sighting of land.

This brief choral-orchestral cantata, which has a hard time of it finding a home on concert programs for logistical reasons, is a curious composition. The programmatic devices and choral writing are ingenious and effective, but the work as a whole is strangely direct and clear-edged for Beethoven. It makes for nice listening on a scorching, breezeless summer afternoon.

21 June 2012 ·

Schumann - Four Songs for Double Chorus,
Op. 141
III. Zuversicht
IV. Talismane 

Cambridge Singers
John Rutter 

24 February 2012 ·

"The dignity of Art appears perhaps most conspicuously in Music; for in Music there is no material to be deducted. It is wholly form and intrinsic value, and it raises and ennobles all that it expresses."

~

Goethe

7 February 2012 ·

"It is impossible to imagine Goethe or Beethoven being good at billiards or golf."

~

H. L. Mencken

3 January 2012 ·

oldbookillustrations:

Encourage the Beautiful, for the Useful encourages itself.
From A collection of book plate designs, by Louis Rhead, Boston, 1907.
(Source: archive.org)

oldbookillustrations:

Encourage the Beautiful, for the Useful encourages itself.

From A collection of book plate designs, by Louis Rhead, Boston, 1907.

(Source: archive.org)

(via bwv1080)

28 November 2011 ·

shinorenji:

The Incident at Teplitz » as depicted by Carl Rohling (Beethoven and Goethe meeting the imperial family, July 1812).

shinorenji:

The Incident at Teplitz » as depicted by Carl Rohling (Beethoven and Goethe meeting the imperial family, July 1812).

(via facepalmmozart-deactivated20140)

23 July 2011 ·

"Die ich rief, die Geister,
werd’ ich nun nicht los."

~

Goethe - Der Zauberlehrling (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice)

(“From those I summoned, those spirits,
 I shall nevermore be free.”)

1 July 2011 ·

Curtis Lindsay
Pianist, composer,
expert in nonsense.



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