Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Doctor Faustus chapter 18 : The highly talented Mr. Leverkühn

Thomas Eakins ( 1904 ) Music

Doctor Faustus chapter 18 : My title :  The highly talented Mr. Leverkühn

Ok, before things get worse, let’s have chapter 18, which does two things:

1) Wet our appetite by hinting at things to come ( Mann understands that his reader need some encouragement ! )

2) Bringing us up to date concerning AL’s progress to become a composer

18.1 SZ tells us that he is familiar with the doings of AL even tough he is not always present.If you check the subsequent actions in their lives, I get the impression that SZ , the humanist Bourgeois is following his “intellectual hero” like a dwhining discarded  puppy.

I am looking back at the subtitle : The life of the German composer Adrian Leverkûhn as told by a friend. A friend ? Wishful thinking ?
Al is feeling more confortable in the presence of others. Not only Kretzschmar, but also others. Take for instance Rûdiger Schildknapp, AL’s companion for his Italian travel. At the end of chapter 10 SZ, confesses that “Schildknapp is a far better partner for such moods ( of demonic laughter ) – which is why I have always been a little jealous of the man”.

Schildknapp is described as a writer, an Anglophile and a Silesian ( in today’s Poland ) by birth.  A bit of a racist remark. AL takes a holiday to the Nort Sea with this new found friend and Schildknapp where he will write his “Phosphorence of the Sea”

18.1  Wet our appetite by hinting at things to come ( Mann understands that his reader need some encouragement ! )


Does Military service
In Leipzig with Kretzschmar
1906 - 1907
University of Leipzig

1908 – 1909
Classical tour
Moves to Munich in
Southern Germany
1910 - 1911
First year teacher in Kaisersaschern
In Italy with Schildknapp
Pfeiffering in Upper Bavaria

18.2 Bringing us up to date concerning AL’s study to become a composer

18.3 Neat definition of Music : that strangely cabalistic, simultaneously playful and rigorous, ingenious and profound craft.

18.4 the study of music :

AL makes rapid progress in compositional technique,formal structure and orchestration
Eager and prolific exercises in counterpoint
The teacher experience versus the students intuition
Al learns about Instrumentation,  he learns to orchestrate orchestrate

“Teacher and pupil were essntially quite far apart in matters of musical instinct and intent – indeed, any aspirant in the arts finds himself almost by necessity dependent on the guidance of a master of his craft from whom he is already half estranged by a generation’s difference. Things only go well if the master nevertheless surmises and understands these hidden tendencies – sees them ironically , if need be – but is careful not to stand in the way of development”.

And so Kretzschmar lived in the self – evident, unuttered conviction  that music had found its ultimate, highest manifestation  and efficacy in orchestral works – Something Adrian no longer believed.

Contemporary music is as a dead tooth preserved by artificially ambalming…

AL proofs this with his own symphonic fantasy : “Phosphorence of the Sea” which is a masterpiece but a parody as well 

-          Astounding feel for bewitching mixtures of sound
-          Exquisite tone painting
-          highly talented succesor to Debussy or Ravel
-          unbelieving masterpiece of orchestral coloristic brillance

        but still with “traits of a parody”