Saturday, August 07, 2010


In reference to the Trinity test in New Mexico, where the first atomic bomb was detonated in July 1945, J. Robert Oppenheimer famously recalled the Bhagavad Gita: "If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the mighty one." and "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."

Wagner’s . . .
Martin Gregor-Dellin, Richard Wagner: His Life, His Work, His Century.
. . . interior monologue in . . .
Bryan Magee, Aspects of Wagner.
. . . Tristan . . .
James Joyce, Finnegan’s Wake.
. . . dark, dense, profound . . .
Janet Malcolm, Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession.
—an experiment in density, really, as Venice is an experiment in water—
Adam Gopnik, The City and the Pillars: The Long Walk Home.
. . . embodied the composer’s . . .
Edward F. Kravitt, Mahler’s Dirges for his Death: February 24, 1901.
. . . paradoxical preoccupation with . . .
Christopher Knight, Peering Beyond the Edge.
. . . enchantment and . . .
Vladimir Nabakov, Speak, Memory: An Autobiography Revisited.
. . . oblivion, . . .
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha.
. . .during his weeks and months in Venice.
Martin Gregor-Dellin, Richard Wagner: His Life, His Work, His Century.
This inner life is not the words nor even the plot as conceived by . . .
George and Portia Kernodle, Invitation to the Theatre.
. . . Wagner . . .
Margaret Brenman-Gibson, Clifford Odets: American Playwright.
. . . the playwright, but a dynamic sequence, constantly surging in rhythmic waves from the beginning to the end.
George and Portia Kernodle, Invitation to the Theatre.
This “birth of the modern” was an explosion of energy.
Martin Gregor-Dellin, Richard Wagner: His Life, His Work, His Century.


Gary Freedman said...

I think some people probably believe I just strung quotes together. I didn't. It was important for me to invest everything with multiple meanings and irony. I spent 11 years on this thing--I thought about it constantly during those 11 years. Day and night.

I could have quoted the word "oblivion" from any source; it's not an uncommonly used word. I didn't do that. It was important to me that everything have meaning.

Yes, I attach a meaning to trivial events.

Call me grandiose, but God did the same thing when he created sub-atomic particles. What do you think he did--just throw matter together? In Jewish tradition, God created the world in seven days. But what we don't know is how long he spent thinking about creating the world. It's the thinking that's the hard part. So much "work, time, and error."

Gary Freedman said...

Ok, so God created the world in six days, but as Justice Kagan would say, "so who's counting?"

Gary Freedman said...

Franz Liszt suffered a fatal heart attack during a performance of Tristan und Isolde:

He died of a heart attack at the fairly ripe old age of seventy-four. What makes the story of his final illness gripping—inscrutably fateful, even—is that it unfolded against the gothic backdrop of Bayreuth, where his comrade, son-in-law, and sometime nemesis Richard Wagner had forged the “Ring.” Wagner died in Venice, in 1883, and was buried in the garden of his Bayreuth home. Liszt died three years later, in the house across the street. It was not the place where he would have preferred to breathe his last. Liszt’s friendship with Wagner had always been a loaded and lopsided one. “To Bayreuth I am not a composer but a publicity agent,” Liszt once complained. He watched as passages of his own scores magically reappeared in Tristan and Parsifal. He brooded over the aloofness of his daughter Cosima, who, after an internationally shocking adulterous interlude, became Wagner’s wife, protector, and alter ego. Still, he venerated Wagner, even at the risk of putting his own staggeringly original music in the shade.

Liszt in his declining years was attended round the clock by Lina Schmalhausen, a fanatical and probably infatuated pupil. Cosima had asked her father to attend the Bayreuth Festival of 1886 on the ground that it needed his support. He arrived suffering from pneumonia, but Cosima’s doctor somehow missed the seriousness of his condition. He dragged himself to “Parsifal” and “Tristan,” suppressing a cough throughout. He repeatedly expressed annoyance that he was falling sick in Bayreuth, of all places—“right under the noses of those people,” he said. Cosima put in appearances at his bedside but was more concerned with overseeing the festival. Schmalhausen had been barred from the premises, but she managed to observe the Master on his deathbed while hiding behind bushes in the garden. Although Cosima insisted that her father’s dying word was “Tristan,” the last thing that Lina heard him say was “Please continue sleeping.”

First he steals my music, then he kills me with it. Sounds like a line from Seinfeld!