Thursday, June 3, 2010

Not Lead Poisoning!

Just after delivering the diagnosis in Part Six that Beethoven likely died of lead poisoning, I read that after tests of skull fragments that lead poisoning has been emphatically ruled out as the cause of Beethoven's death! For more go to:

A brief outline

I thought a brief, but by no means complete, outline of the topics covered in the three years we've been doing this might be interesting:

Part 1: Absolute Music as Philosophy and Religion. Economics in music ca. 1800

Part 2: The Enlightenment and Classical Greece. Orpheus and his “Eternal Recurrence”, Waldstein's “Mozart's spirit from the hands of Haydn.” Wagner's program for Op.131 and our first taste of Faust and Goethe.

Part 3: Fame and fortune in the salons of Vienna, the 1790's piano duels or “battle of the bands”. Beethoven contra Napoleon. The Heiligenstadt testament and the patterns of death and rebirth in Beethoven's “Heroic Style”. The “Grosse Fuge” is it the seed of 20th century music?

Part 4: Beethoven on the comics page: Peanuts. Music for boys and girls: is music Gender coded? Beethoven's love life and mystery of The Immortal Beloved.

Part 5: Mann's “Faustus” and Strauss' “Metamorphosen” - reactions to the catastrophic failure of the Enlightenment and “Bildung”, Clockwork Orange and the “Ode to Sorrow”, Does high culture civilize? Is Beethoven to blame?

Part 6: What other composers have to say about Beethoven. Muss es Sein? Beethoven's death, was that clap of thunder the “Divine Spark of Heaven”?

Nearing the finish line

It's been a long time since I last posted anything on the blog! The quantity and density of the projects I've undertaken in the last year has been somewhat overwhelming. We've passed through part 5, and are now into the sixth and final segment of our three year journey. In the course of doing this, we were even convinced to give a name to our quartet, the Adorno quartet. The reason for this are practical. We played last summer at the Westben Arts Theater, and in advertising the concert, they needed something to call us. They began with "the Jansonius Quartet", but we vetoed that and came up with the somewhat ironic "Adorno" name. We are playing Part 6 eight times in seven different "salons", four straight weeks of Beethoven quartets! I am also in another quartet, more commercially oriented, the "New Orford String Quartet". On top of this, I decided to record and perform all the Bach cello suites this year. The recording and editing is finished, and the CD will be released June 27th, 2010. What was I thinking? This is a huge undertaking! I will be performing them along with Eric Siblin, the author of "The Cello Suites" at the first Festival ALexandria concert on June 27th. In the course of this, I started my own recording company, STORKCLASSICS!