Sunday, May 27, 2012

Be with me


Always wonderfully impressive
to me is our hearing's genius,
evolved early enough as to seem
only sensory, for giving us the
etymology, the genealogy of a
complex sound which pleases us 
instantly with complete coher-
ency and unquestioned generosity.
A healing voice, if you like,
we trace and assimilate in one
transformative shudder. Yet,
even knowing its quality, one
may wonder how it is produced
in fact, much less where, as
we say, it may have come from.

A healing voice, than which
many say there is no greater,
makes its way from still sil-
ence to resolved completeness
in the first measure of the
widely known Cavatina from
Beethoven's Op. 130 Quartet.

When I was a college boy,
steeping myself in this music
via an ancient victrola (com-
paratively speaking), I could
very clearly understand what 
the critical fuss was about,
in awe of this invention; but
it was also clear to me, that
the music responded to a con-
dition my life had not pres-
ented to me. 

Drawing closer, in time, 
through observation and ex-
perience, to the condition 
for which the wholeness of 
this song is reserved, is 
rather to pass through an-
other veil of love. In my
hearing of the Cavatina on
this evening of isolation
and pain beyond my ability
to anticipate, I feel not
merely the mystery of that
first measure's derivation
as noise, and its swift
identification; I feel a
quality in a healing voice
which I had never imagined.

This very familiar piece of
music is justly famous for its
companionship to suffering, a
way almost of lifting it a bit
from one's shoulders. But no
one ever told me what a summons
it is, away from pain; and no
one ever told me me what a sum-
mons it is, to the unlonely com-
munion of those who undergo it.

In my way of thinking of such
things as the gifts that they 
are - that they need to be
handed along - the Cavatina's
entreaty, its acoustic path 
from the tormenting meaning-
lessness of suffering, strikes 
me as something I have to hope 
will come to the constituents 
of this page.

I am disappointed with the
presentations available via
you tube, which in any case
represent an irresponsible
way of listening. There is 
no rush in this. I would
recommend the compact disc
recording by the Alban Berg
Quartet (EMI).

i  Francisco Lachowski

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