Saturday, October 22, 2011

MM Part 3 : The Shadow of respectability

Wednesday, the second day or first full day of Hans saty at the Sanatorium. Part 3 will encompass the whole second day. It introduces some key figures, the two first major Mentors who will influence Hans.

His day starts by witnessing both Eros and Thanatos ( death ) at the same time

Hans is both ready and not ready to meet the day

1. Bildung

Still physical unconfortable

2. Time


3. Death

An old woman clad in black strides through the garden on the rhythm or pace of march music. A death March ? This woman stands as a symbol of grief and death. Her name "Tous - les - deux" possibly indicates also that both cousins are ill too. If so it underscores the unity Hans and Joachim are forming.

The funeral march disturbed by other sounds from the village, might be Mahler's "Kindertotellieder"

Thomas Mann knew Mahler and his works well. Aschenbach in Death in Venice for instance, is partly based on Mahler.

Here is the incomparable Kathleen Ferrier, and conductor Bruno Walter - who was Mahler's pupil and then assistant - with Nun will die Sonn': (up to 4.50) (the first poem Choco quotes in 185) 

The thing to listen to in Mahler is his counterpoint. He won all the counterpoint prizes going when he was at the conservatory as a student. He really brought counterpoint -an essentially baroque phenomenon- into the 20th century. Listen to the counterpoint of the woodwind in this song especially. woodwind players love mahler coz he gives them interesting tunes to play.

Mahler was also deeply interested in popular music, especially the marches and waltzes and folk songs of vienna, the hurdy gurdy men who walked the streets, the municipal and military brass bands, the gypsy violinists. his symphonies always incorporate these elements and combine them with high art forms such as operas, the sonata form and traditional symphonic elements. 

Here is the famous Frere Jacques movement from the first symphony. He basically takes the french children's song, and flattens the third note into a minor third, rather than a major third, and then uses it as a round. He turns it into the type of funeral march one could hear on the streets of the towns eastern europe. But notice the wonderful counterpoint here. at 2.40 he introduces a new tune, a somewhat louche popular dance tune. Aurally, it's as if you are standing on the street watching a funeral procession pass by with marching band, while in the park next door, another band is playing popular dance tunes. He infuses all this with a kind of salon nostalgia. at 5.46, he introduces another tune, which he pinched from his own work: it's one of the Ruckert lieder. 

It is chilling It was Friedrich Ruckert ( the man who wrote the Lieder ) who lost two children to Scarlett fever ( tous les deux )

4. Eros

The sounds of the fornicating Russian couple in the room next door disturb cool Hans. Note a different kind of Music here, a waltz and a popular ballad.

5. Geography

It is no accident that the couple is Russian. Bad manners, sexuality and laisser –allez come from the east. Hans the cool Northerner is not amused