Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saturday commute xviii: in the rocketing phase of mastering things

If one were to imagine Francisco de Goya in an especially good mood, on an improbably happy day, one might very well expect to meet this marvelous ruffian. Portrait de Louis gives us an intelligence bursting with the pleasure of mastering things, eager in many different directions. Experience is filling his play with initiating self-reliance, unfurling from an involuntary and propulsive gift for learning, which seems to have ignited itself all at once. To our eye he fills a purse of great charm and scrambled fascination at the same time, to be so continuously and variously enriched. He has the excitement, without the mantle, of a gathering competence. In the settling undermoldings of the face, are written energy, cognition, expectation; and one discernible sliver, quite pardonable, of pride. He has seen that he is a bearer now of sounds that others find beautiful, and that he is welcome to be heard as well as seen - the piping laugh; the breathy, abrupt response; the high-throated cheer of competition.

He is engaged with the second birth of his life. His is the project Mr Schubert's beßrer Zeiten drop to their knees to bring forth. 

How can this be better painted? This beautifully composed commotion - this vibration qui donne la vie, Valéry Lorenzo has called it - richly contrasted and textured as it is, presents itself as a kind of domestic inventory update, but reads as the confession that it quite properly is. Welcome now Elisabeth Baysset to Context in our readings, discovered in the reading and comments bar of Valéry Lorenzo ~ as we might have supposed. 

Elisabeth Baysset
Portrait de Louis

Franz Schubert
An die musik, D. 547
Ian Bostridge, tenor
Julius Drake, piano
EMI, 2005©

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