Thursday, November 26, 2009

Ultimate Mash

Free associating with abandon this evening, listening to a recording of my favorite Bach cantata, Herz und Mund und Tat un Leben, BWV 147. The thing is up at full blast. Lovely recording with the Hungarian Radio Chorus and the Failoni Chamber Orchestra. Okay, I'm no classical recording maven. It's what I have at hand.

Speaking of "at hand," anytime I write a phrase like that I think of Heidegger (whom I found impenetrible until more recent years) but also of one of the loveliest men I ever had the privilege of encountering, if only as a bystander, auditing a course on Heidegger at MIT in the fall of (I think - must factcheck later) 1979.

Heidegger made no sense to me at the time. Now I sort of get him, on my own terms. Gian-Carlo Rota, on the other hand, I loved. At the end of the term he had a big mashup party at his post-war high rise apartment in Cambridge. Mostly I remember that the men (boys) partook of the professor's stash of fine cigars. I remember that he kept Proust - in French - on the toilet.

This was a time in my life (college) that I was given to wandering around the streets of Boston. There was a church on Newbury Street that showcased weekly Bach cantatas. One Sunday I made a point of attending a performance. It happened to be Herz und Mund. I fell in love, particularly with the first movement (or track). Over thirty years later (and I say this without pride & with a daunting sense of lameness, knowing that I am missing a lot since Bach produced scores if not hundreds of cantatas - My God! What am I missing??!!!) - it's the only cantata I know.

I cannot vouch for the quality of the recording of this clip whatsoever, what with dialup and my life proceeding far too apace to be measured in coffeespoons.

But the conductor looks like fun.

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