Tuesday, February 06, 2007

This Sounds About Right

The funniest thing is the way I expound all this to my hired servant, because when you're full of a thing, you can't stop talking about it, and you keep looking for some new angle from which to show how wonderful it is.

A quote by Goethe from The Perfect House, a book by the architect Witold Rybczynski on Andrea Palladio's country villas. Good light reading for the bus - I highly recommend it.

I have not read much Goethe. Instead, I have always spent more time with his morose walking companion, Louis van, who was really a Schiller man at heart.

Nevertheless, many of my blogging chums are talking about Goethe, so I thought I'd lazily toss my hat in the ring, given this quote appears to sum up nicely the kind of community I've elected to hang around in, and it appears in a breezily written book about a subject I know nearly nothing about.

***

A quick note - BBC3's Early Music Show has an hour this week on Pietro Francesco Caletti-Bruni, better known as Franceso Cavalli, and his most famous opera, La Calisto. This has long been a favourite of mine, and it seems to me as though late 17th Centruy italian opera is really the only remaining patch of land unreclaimed by the major opera houses. Is it too much to ask the COC to do a mainstage production of these works?

Cavalli's work shows the fragmentation of form that occured after Monteverdi, setting the stage for the much maligned, little understood, and immensely popular Baroque opera we see before us. Nevertheless, there's a freedom in Cavalli, a playfulness, that I find absent in the later French and Italian works of the period. Cavalli was writing when opera was the big thing, but it was still pretty fresh.

Indeed, I wonder if the resurgence in baroque opera has something to do with its realignment with our own mass tastes - the carving apart of music, action and emotion suits us better than the pre-Freudian psychologizing of Wagner, his development of the musical practice of motivic development to dramatically represent psychological progression simply too much for us to take in all at once these days.

I can't get enough Wagner - I'm odd that way. But I can't get enough Cavalli either. Go check out the Early Music Show this week and let me know what you think of him. If you like him, then let's keep talking about him.

6 comments:

Conrad H. Roth said...

I was thinking about starting a Goethe Appreciation Society... but now, as you know, I have bigger fish to fry. Goethe was very keen on Palladio during his visit to Italy; is this the context of the quote. Speaking of Schiller though, I'd like to write something on his Aesthetic Education of Man.

Otto van Karajanstein said...

That is the context for the quote - Rybczynski uses Goethe as a springboard for his own reactions to Palladio's country houses. It was a nice quick read.

As for Schiller, I haven't read much of his aethetic writings - I know him more as poet and dramatist. Please do write on him!

Conrad H. Roth said...

Well, I don't know him as a poet / dramatist. Perhaps while Hacking waits for fuller appreciation, we could two-part Schiller together?

Otto van Karajanstein said...

Sure, why not? I'll have to dig into the recesses of my mind, but that's not a bad thing!

Gawain said...

Dude, yo, man, missing that program on Callisto was the absolutely WORST thing about my stay in Taiwan this week. I hope you RECORDED IT?!?!

Otto van Karajanstein said...

I didn't, and I'm shocked to see that even though there was no early music show this week, it's no longer available to listen to.

Sorry!