Saturday, April 20, 2013

Der Tod und Verklaerung
 (Death and Transfiguration)
A Tone Poem by
Richard Strauss


  1. from wikipedia:

    Strauss said to his daughter-in-law as he lay on his deathbed in 1949: "It's a funny thing Alice, dying is just the way I composed it in Tod und Verklärung.

  2. Well, Richard, I guess all that depends upon the Life you lead, and the End it receives. ;)

  3. Okay. I'll give credit where due:

    Apotheosis achieved.

  4. When it comes to important music and its composers, the only good way to develop an understanding and appreciation is to listen -- and KEEP LISTENING to the MUSIC, itself. All else is irrelevant.

    Whom they sept with, how they treated their wives and children, their religious beliefs, their politics, their personal hygiene, their social skills or lack thereof, what they ate for breakfast and how well or ill they conducted the business end of their affairs is totally irrelevant to the magnificence of their output.

  5. Not true. Mengele's "magnificence" leaves MUCH to be desired.

  6. The point I'm trying to make, is that even Wagner's music was "political". And knowing his "background" is necessary, even if you don't agree with the conclusions that others might reach about it.

    Wagner's music were a celebratory form of "imitation" nationalist-Christianity... even though it operated on "pagan" subjects. Those who associate it with National Socialism are "missing the point". The "causes" for which sacrifices are made, matter. The "lives" that music's great composers live, "matter".

    You can't drink fresh water from a jug drawn from the Sea.

  7. ....More on Strauss...

    In 1938, when the entire nation was preparing for war, Strauss created Friedenstag (Peace Day), a one-act opera set in a besieged fortress during the Thirty Years' War. The work is essentially a hymn to peace and a thinly veiled criticism of the Third Reich. With its contrasts between freedom and enslavement, war and peace, light and dark, this work has a close affinity with Beethoven's Fidelio. Productions of the opera ceased shortly after the outbreak of war in 1939.

    Strauss at Garmisch in 1938

    When his Jewish daughter-in-law Alice was placed under house arrest in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1938, Strauss used his connections in Berlin, including the Berlin intendant Heinz Tietjen, to secure her safety. He drove to the Theresienstadt concentration camp in order to argue, albeit unsuccessfully, for the release of his son Franz's Jewish mother-in-law, Marie von Grab. Strauss also wrote several letters to the SS pleading for the release of her children who were also held in camps; his letters were ignored.

    In 1942, Strauss moved with his family back to Vienna, where Alice and her children could be protected by Baldur von Schirach, the Gauleiter of Vienna. Strauss was unable, however, to protect his Jewish relatives completely; in early 1944, while Strauss was away, Alice and his son Franz were abducted by the Gestapo and imprisoned for two nights. Only Strauss's personal intervention at this point was able to save them, and he was able to take the two of them back to Garmisch, where they remained under house arrest until the end of the war.


  8. Pietà
    By Kevin Young
    I hunted heaven
    for him.

    No dice.

    Too uppity,
    it was. Not enough

    music, or dark dirt.

    I begged the earth empty
    of him. Death

    believes in us whether
    we believe

    or not. For a long while
    I watch the sound

    of a boy bouncing a ball
    down the block

    take its time
    to reach me. Father,

    find me when
    you want. I’ll wait.

  9. Hello, Absolute Marxist. I took a look at your blog. I like your style -- I think. ;-)

    Yes. Making fun of the malignant growths that threaten our existence as non-slaves (we are not "free" unfortunately) is helpful in lifting beleaguered spirits who've begun to think of capitulation as inevitable.

    The biographical data on Richard Strauss is well known to me, but thank you for at least trying to relate to Tod und Verklaerung in some sway rather than ignoring it altogether as most have done.

  10. By the way, I disagree very strongly that Wagner's music was "political."

    True Art is above politics -- far, far, FAR above politics. In fact true Art TRANSCENDS the limitations of earthly existence, when rightly understood.

    Wagner's Music -- like all great music -- is SPIRITUAL.

    As I said earlier, any chronicle of the foibles or the details of the personal lives and habits of the great composers -- or ANY important practitioner of the Arts -- is completely irrelevant to the value of the the work they produced.

    When Art is distorted and abused for political or polemical purposes it becomes a TRAVESTY. It is no longer true Art, but PROPAGANDA, instead.

  11. Thersites, what in God's name could MENGELE have to do with a discussion of serious Music and Art?

    If you're trying to say his monstrous deeds obviate any possible good he might have achieved, I strongly disagree.

    Suppose his torture and murder of all those Jews HAD by some miraculous chance produced an honest-to-God cure for cancer?

    Would you agree with the hysterical, hyper-partisan Israel Lobby that his findings -- however helpful to humanity -- should be SUPPRESSED?


    Never, never forget that the God you steadfastly refuse to believe in works in mysterious ways. He does, indeed.

  12. Ducky, that pretentiously unpretentious minimalist stuff you seem to like is nothing more than nihilistic nonsense -- another way of whining. Heaven "too uppity."

    Please spare me the reverse racism.

  13. AHA! I was RIGHT. I didn't dare say it in the post immediately above, but I just KNEW Kevin Young HAD to be a Negro.

    I just looked him up, and I was RIGHT.

    The founders of Harvard college must be spinning in the graves like so many gyroscopes.

    Vindication of one's intuition and powers of perception is sweet.

    Too "uppity!"

    Pardon me while I permit myself to get hysterical.


  14. Never, never forget that the God you steadfastly refuse to believe in works in mysterious ways. He does, indeed.

    Please, I'm a Deist, NOT an atheist.

  15. ...and the master's Discourse, is his discourse, be the subject war or...

    NOT political. Please.



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