Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Revenons à nos moutons

A seasonal turn in the Northern Hemisphere recalls that thrilling, auspicious moment in our liberal education - a vision we saw dissolve before our eyes with the rise of Thatcher, Reagan, and the WTO - as we contemplated an Autumnal palette of degree pre-requisites and elective delectations which bade us, "come into dinner," as Beatrice had it in Much Ado, of resumed development under the guiding of priceless preceptors, and the unforgettable company of our peers. 

When I came to my present place, a friend asked me what kind of society I would hope to find in 'the best of all possible worlds.' Having some practice in the question, it wasn't very hard to answer - a very selfish answer, naturally, to a question that invited one. Years later, I cited the terms of my foolishness to a friend in design, who ran a computer scan of its latent colours.
Welcome Ode, Henry Purcell, 1694
Performance, King's Consort, Hyperion, 1992 ©
Photography, Potomac & Athens, The Washington Post


  1. beyond


    completely beyond divine

  2. Is it good to be Greek, forgetting nothing?

    I used to always remember. Can't quite think how that felt. Now it is more about wondering than remembering.

  3. Well, I think we can stipulate that it's good to be Greek. Nobody's ever had any luck in suggesting it isn't.

    As to forgetting nothing, I don't suppose you were more Greek when you were doing that, but that would only be speculation. :) But wondering, in the sense of inquiring, rather than only marveling through a flux of bafflement (not an unpleasant state, so far as it goes, and an occupational hazard in physics and some other romances), is far from incompatible with remembering, as you are the last to need to be told.

    Falsely remembering - not always an act of remembering a false understanding - is quite incompatible with wondering, in most of its modes, but can give you a majority in the Electoral College if you are clever enough to own a Supreme Court to say it does.

    I don't know how the Greeks do it, but it seems that forgetting nothing helps to put an oppression, such as the present one by the German banks, into a longtime context of a resilient civilisation. They got through the Sicherheitsdienst, they can probably survive Angela Merkel.

  4. Lovely post! I loved the added Alto Solo...

  5. I hope it seemed integral to the occasion, Dan. The soloist is Michael Chance, whose participation in the King's Consort compilation of the Purcell welcome odes (along with James Bowman's) is quite wonderful proof of HP's phenomenal gift for that register - which has such clarity amidst much choral context. We have heard from Bowman ("It has begun," last month) and inevitably we will again.

    Are we in the midst of an entire generation which is unacquainted with the range and potentialities of the human voice, to whom its majesty is yet another menacing aberration by virtue of being unexpected?

  6. the estonians sang

    to retain their identity and their culture and

    their only way of surviving the horrors.

    it was a singing revolution.

    we are watching song disappear, in the historical context that it has lived in for so long.

    even the way we hear is changing now...

  7. I thank you for the exemplary information and for the generosity of your visit. I always prefer not to raid you for such things - :)

    Your comment on preserving a culture could not be better timed, and underscores the 'moment' of the musical releases reported, supra. This will only lend strength to the way we listen.

    The crisis you allude to, in the way we hear, is fundamental. A Stanford University psychology professor ran an experiment, reported some months ago in The New York Times, demonstrating that his charges regard the playback acoustic of mp3's as having higher fidelity than the underlying high-definition recording. The word, "concert," is interpreted by young graduates of the University of Virginia as a disc jockey's demonstration in a stadium. The evidence for the redundancy of the human ear is gathering. Imagine what this means for D-H's alto solo.