Saturday, March 5, 2011

Dearest, up in the aerie as I have been most of the day, reading, musing, napping, nursing an incipient head cold. Read two wonderful essays on line this morning, one of which led me to embark on an essay by Emerson, and the other to rummage through our various piles of CDs for what I was sure we must have, and indeed did, a boxed set of Beethoven String Quartets (the version we have is by the Amadeus Quartet), with which I'm not familiar. I started (in my effort to recreate a semblance of what transpired in a club in Seattle one night last month) with Opus 130, the fourth and fifth movements, followed by Opus 18, Number 6, written (as the reviewer notes) a quarter-century earlier. And then I thought, hey KZE - as Pete Seeger says in one of your promo clips, if the music isn't diverse enough for you - then say something ("give 'em hell," is how I recall he puts it). It has occurred to me - yeah, as diverse as KZE's musical programming is, it could be more diverse. I mean, Beethoven, for example, sometimes seriously rocks. I love the idea of playing a single movement of a larger work as an individual piece on a randomized playlist. And leaping across time to previous centuries - now, that's diverse. Paraphrasing David Gray, Ludwig the Artist for right now at least you're mine all mine... the poor heart leaps... the hand that reaches through time.

As the eyes of Lyncaeus were said to see through the earth, so the poet turns the world to glass, and shows us all things in their right series and procession. For, through that better perception, he stands one step nearer to things, and sees the flowing or metamorphosis; perceives that thought is multiform- that within the form of every creature is a force impelling it to ascend into a higher form; and, following with his eyes the life, uses the forms which express that life, and so his speech flows with the flowing of nature. All the facts of the animal economy,--sex, nutriment, gestation, birth, growth--are symbols of the passage of the world into the soul of man, to suffer there a change, and reappear a new and higher fact. He uses forms according to the life, and not according to the form. This is true science. The poet alone knows astronomy, chemistry, vegetation, and animation, for he does not stop at these facts, but employs them as signs. He knows why the plain, or meadow of space, was strown with these flowers we call suns, and moons, and stars; why the great deep is adorned with animals, with men, and gods; for, in every word he speaks he rides on them as the horses of thought.
This passage from Emerson's essay, The Poet, resonated with me and reminded me of the annoyance I felt hearing a suburban parish priest in passing mindlessly sneer about the theory of evolution. I think of this from time to time. I believe that God endowed us - some of us anyway - with great curiosity and thirst for knowledge - and scientists such as Darwin and those who have since built on his work read nature and decipher its workings and manifold creation as texts. This is not an original thought to me, and I don't know who elucidated it first, but Emerson certainly picks up on it, the world of nature being an expression of God, of the Oversoul, that we perhaps can read, and that the Poet can express. This train of thought leads me to think of one of the most powerful pieces of music I know, that there could possibly be I daresay, Bach's Saint Matthew Passion. The overture, in particular, to my mind, absolutely reflects, recounts, the teeming, unfolding, developing, eternal return nature of God's magnificently complex - yes complex, not simple - creation.

Ahh, I can't express myself tonight at all, my dearest, and can't find a clip of the Bach overture online. It's occurred to me that Easter week I would love to attend a performance live. Perhaps not the Easter week this year, but perhaps I can make a note and bring the disc down with me and I can play it for you.

Right now my mind (perhaps yours too) is full of colorful roiling lovely images of Bonnard nudes, reclining and revolving at various times of day, morning, afternoon siestas, reaching through time...

All my love, dearest. Sweet dreams.

Darling - I have found the choral overture online - the very recording I have, in fact. Do you know it? It is truly profound. XOXO

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