Category Archives: Music

Piatigorsky’s *Cellist* autobiography

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The best religious conservative song ever

… is by Sting. From his 1999 Brand New Day album. If you like, listen to the song while reading the lyrics below (YouTube version here). Then further below are the lyrics with my thematic-dramatic-arc notes added. “Fill Her Up” … Continue reading

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Humor: Herbert von Karajan and God

An amusing jibe at the great conductor Herbert von Karajan, whose perfectionism and sometimes-authoritarian leadership style could cause enmity. “St. Peter calls upon Freud and tells him that God is evidently in need of psychiatric help. ‘I should be glad … Continue reading

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How great artists become great — Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky

From Igor Stravinky’s Autobiography: “For me, as a creative musician, composition is a daily function that I feel compelled to discharge. I compose because I am made for that and cannot do otherwise. Just as any organ atrophies unless kept … Continue reading

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Creative geniuses as selfish — Beethoven version

How did Beethoven become Beethoven? “The ‘personality’ of such a man as Beethoven is a slowly developed synthetic whole. It is formed by the gradual combination of its constituent elements into an organic unity. For the development of a personality … Continue reading

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Beethoven on the metaphysics of music

A fascinating passage, reported by a young woman named Elizabeth Brentano,[1] who was a friend of Goethe and who met Beethoven in 1810. Here are Beethoven’s own words, according to Brentano: “When I open my eyes I must sigh, for … Continue reading

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Beethoven’s romantic fatalism

To start — three sensitive commentators on the meaning of Beethoven’s music. * Hermann Hesse, the Nobel-Prize-winning novelist, in Steppenwolf, contrasting Mozart to Beethoven (and to Kleist, who committed suicide at age 34): “You have lent a deaf ear to … Continue reading

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Music and sense of life: Shostakovich version

The philosophical nature of art, as illustrated by Dmitri Shostakovich’s comments on the purpose of his music, from his autobiographical Testimony. Continue reading

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