Beethoven rolls over, tells Tchaikovsky the news that he's 240 today

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Dec 16, 2010, 6:01:35 AM12/16/10

I recently checked out Maynard Solomon's bio on LvB; I found the
information surrounding him and the Illuminati fairly convincing. Was
he a member of the Illuminati? I don't know. Was he influenced by
their ideas? I'm about 90% sure he was, after reading what Solomon has
to say. (RAW posited LvB as a member of the Illuminati as a fanciful
lark, one of his reductio ad absurdum moves to satirize Beatles-as-
satanists he'd read about in the late 1960s/early 70s. It was yet
another "satirical prophecy." (see also _Everything Is Under Control_,
pp. 63-64)

I just read Mencken's essay on LvB, first pub on April 24th, 1922, in
the Baltimore Evening Sun. I liked these lines:

"His most complicated structures retained the overwhelming clarity of
the Parthenon. And into them he got a kind of feeling that even the
Greeks could not match; he was preeminently a modern man, with all the
trace of the barbarian vanished. Into his gorgeous music there went
all of the high skepticism that was of the essence of the Eighteenth
Century, but into it there also went the new enthusiasm, the new
determination to challenge and beat the gods, that dawned with the
Nineteenth." - from _A Mencken Chrestomathy_

Meanwhile, in another universe - a Trick Top Hat one - a female Leary/
RAW/Bucky Fuller-ish-type thinker is President, and Things are quite
different than in "this" universe, although there seem some strong
similarities, and music critic Justin Case is pleased: "It appeared
that the administration was the first government in history to take
Beethoven seriously. To him, Hubbard's whole philosophy was obviously
derived from the last movement of the Ninth."

I love the description of the Hammerklavier that "Ezra Pound" of the
"Fair Play for Fernando Poo Committee" sends Dr. Dashwood in _The
Homing Pigeons_, pp.374-375 of the SCT omnibus ed.

O! Sizeism seems a horrible thing!

PKD's last, unfinished novel, IIRC titled _The Owl in Daylight_, had a
main character based on LvB and Faust. PKD wondered where Beethoven
would've gone to try to transcend himself if he'd lived longer.
Beethoven only lived to 56? The idea of LvB going "further" than those
late string quartets, or the 9th, seems to me like pondering what
Joyce would've done after Finnegans Wake.

"Anyone who understands my music will never be unhappy again." -
that's LvB, as translated into English. We read such a quote and say
ahhh yesss. But what does it mean to "understand" any text, much less
something as abstract as music? If I consider "understand" as
metaphor, it seems related to a rational geometrical relationship
between subject/object, and I'm not sure I understand music in the
same way I understand, say, Euclid's axioms and demonstrated proofs.
Rather, I think a more apt metaphor would be tuning, or resonance. I
feel attuned to some music or other, or some piece of music resonates
with me. But I digress...

He's 240 today. May we all live as long, at least in dove sta memoria.


Dec 16, 2010, 11:23:45 AM12/16/10
I did not finish the Solomon biography. I read about the first half
back in the 90's, up to the Eroica. I keep telling myself to go back
and read the whole thing. I have not read Mencken's essay. I haven't
read much by Mencken, except his translation of Nietzsche. I love the
Beethoven material in Schroedinger's Cat. I like the idea of the 7th,
8th and 9th Symphonies as a map of future evolution and the idea of
the 7th and 8th as successful tantric sex. (I saw part of a Seinfeld
last night where Kramer mentions tantric sex.)

I had not heard of that Phil Dick book. In The Transmigration of
Timothy Archer (I think) he suggests the new ending for the quartet
Op. 130 suggested a new period for Beethoven. I had tended to favor
the original ending, the Grosse Fugue, but when I hear the new ending
now I think of Phil and wonder what the Big B might have written
next. He had planned a piece using Hebrew modes. People often divide
Beethoven's work into three periods. At the end of each the influence
of Haydn shows up more than it usually does in his work. I think of
the Second Symphony near the end of the first period and the Eighth
Symphony near the end of the second period. Parts of the quartet op.
135 and the new ending to 130 have a Haydn feel, as Beethoven wraps up
another period.

Joyce talked about writing a novel of the sea after Finnegans Wake.
For years I've imagined it called One Piece Bikini.

I love these reviews by Rafi Zabor from Amazon:

Beethoven: Missa Solemnis; Schubert: Symphony No. 8; Wagner: A Faust
Price: $27.25

Availability: In Stock
13 used & new from $19.99

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful:
Elysium, May 31, 2005
This review is from: Beethoven: Missa Solemnis; Schubert: Symphony No.
8; Wagner: A Faust Overture (Audio CD)
For a long time one could lament the fact that there was no definitive
performance of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis on record, and make do with
the best elements of the recordings available: Gardiner's (rather too
tidily English) clarity and speed, Karajan's (largely rhetorical,
often meaningless) command, Bernstein's (overpushed) heartfelt
commitment, and so on. Wilhelm Furtwangler, whom I esteem above all
other Beethoven conductors, considered himself inadequate to conduct
what Beethoven himself, at least for a time, regarded as his greatest
work. We are fortunate that Jascha Horenstein made a very serious
attempt at it and that it was recorded. The sound is fairly good mono
at best, but you can hear everything, and it is a performance of
tremendous power and commitment. Horenstein's formal grasp of this
immense piece is obvious from early on and his expressive power is
unstinting throughout. The solo singing is particularly fine, and I
have never heard any conductor find the through-line of the Agnus Dei/
Dona nobis pacem last movement: for a long time I thought that
Beethoven, the greatest composer of resounding conclusions, had for
once failed to end a work convincingly, but I think it no more.
Horenstein partly locates the core of this last music in Beethoven's
deep grief over the failure of the democratic possibilities of Europe
to which he had given his heart in youth, only to lose them to
Bonapartist wars and subsequent repression--a similar feeling powers
the transcendent idealism of the last movement of the Ninth--and
Horenstein, with his deep experience of the 20th Century's disasters
and his capacity for registering depths of despair--think of his
great, unsparing BBC recording of Mahler's Ninth--finds a power and
continuity in this music that no one else has touched, and the chiming
of Pacem, Pacem at the finish no longer sounds tacked on or unachieved
but the earned, resounding triumph of Beethoven's visionary,
heartfelt, striving artistry. In one of his few obviously
Furtwanglerian moves, Horenstein takes a ritardando clearly implied in
Beethoven's writing so that the last pages feel like an enormous,
fulfilled outbreath of peace and mercy found at the end of long
struggle. Eugen Jochum's superb recording of the Missa was only very
briefly available on CD, and his full-hearted faith gave wonderful
voice to Beethoven's complex utterance, but Horenstein's ability to
also confront the annihilation of hope goes beyond Jochum's noble
musicmaking to give us a more complete and profound Missa Solemnis, I
think, than has been achieved on record by anyone before. No one who
loves Beethoven will want to be without this recording. Horenstein's
reading of the Unfinished is also very fine.

The preceding paragraph was written when this recording was new to me,
over a year ago. Further listening has only increased my appreciation
of it. I'd like to correct the overemphasis on the last movement by
pointing out the exhilaration of Horenstein's Gloria--not the fastest
on record, but the perhaps most electrifying and the best understood
(never mind that overexcited tympanist at the end)--and the deep
formal intelligence at work in the Credo, for which his slow initial
tempo performs a masterstroke analagous to that in the opening of his
Mahler 8th. Then there is the astonishing singing of Teresa Stich-
Randall, worth the price of admission on its own. The only thing I can
say in demurral is that the excellent mono fails to capture the tonal
glory of the solo violin in the Benedictus, for which you need another
recording, the Jochum if you can find it, or good luck elsewhere. For
me, this is simply one of the great recordings of all time.

Third take: I've recently spent some time with James Levine's grand
version, which is almost good enough to be a hi-fi stereo backup for
the Horenstein--Vienna Philarmonic, star-studded cast, unbelievable
chorus, well judged tempos and architectonics--but it sounds to me as
if the solo singers, especially Placido Domingo, though Jessye
Norman's not far behind, are singing more for themselves than for the
music, or--to put it a shade less subjectively--with a continuous
breadth of vibrato more appropriate to nineteenth century opera than
to what is still, however vastly expanded, a classical idiom. It's a
glamorous, Hollywoodish performance of high quality that provides the
histrionics and gilds the surfaces with greater attention than it
gives to the depths, where Horenstein is still, as far as I know,
unmatched. Also, surprisingly, the vibrato of the solo violin in the
Benedictus is so broad that most of the music is effectively out of
tune. On the other hand, I'm warming to the Herrweghe recording, which
has always seemed a mite underpowered but now comes as something of a
relief. Horenstein still rules, and I hope they'll bring back the

Furtwangler Conducts Beethoven - Beethoven: symphonies no 3,4,5, &
9, Leonore
Price: $33.48

Availability: In Stock
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful:
The Ultimate, August 14, 2000
This review is from: Furtwangler Conducts Beethoven - Beethoven:
symphonies no 3,4,5, & 9, Leonore (Audio CD)
I'd just like to add my voice to the already eloquent five-star
chorus. I don't know if there is such a thing, but to me this is the
single greatest set of orchestral recordings there has ever been, and
the Ninth seems to me the greatest orchestral performance ever
recorded--I really do not understand the consensus opinion that the
Bayreuth performance is better. The Berlin Ninth is unique, and for a
very good reason, as described by other reviewers below. There is
nothing like it anywhere else in music.

That said, the set is not perfect. Personally I prefer a Fifth
Furtwangler recorded in 1947, despite the clinkers in the solo parts,
and the sumptuous EMI Pastorale might be preferable to the one here;
but taken all in all this set is unequalled: the greatest Eroica and
Ninth ever recorded, and you can take it from there. As for the sound,
those of us who have lived with various LP versions over the years
know what a superb job was done by the engineers who put this set

I've learned over the years that Furtwangler will never be for
everyone--witness the demurrals in the reviews below--but it seems to
me that anyone who is aware of music's highest expressive and
spiritual potential will find a way to these astounding performances.

I'd also recommend that anyone enthralled by this set should also find
Furtwangler's last performance of the Ninth, in Lausanne, three months
before his death; much of the muscularity is gone, and Ninth stands
revealed, in the conductor's last manner, as a radiant piece of music
from which all struggle has been refined away by higher contemplation.
It is superlatively well recorded, and although it lacks the
apocalyptic drama of the 1942 performance, you can hear in great
detail what was always Furtwangler's extraordinary sense of inner
voicings and texture, which, transposed to one's experience of the
Berlin Ninth, deepens further one's experience of this Mount Everest
of all orchestral recordings.


Dec 16, 2010, 3:30:11 PM12/16/10
Today also marks Phil Dick's birthday.

Unleaded Juice

Dec 22, 2010, 5:38:25 PM12/22/10
On Dec 16, 3:30 pm, Psmith <> wrote:
> Today also marks Phil Dick's birthday.

Eentirely not surprised... he was born remarkably close to Mithras'
birthday too

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