Friday, December 27, 2013

Doctor Faustus Chapter 20: My title : “Rüdiger Schildknapp”

After a year Al & SZ meet again. 

20.1 It is a bit sad to see how unilateral the relationship between AL en SZ really is. While SZ’s friendship tends to adoration and devotion, AL’s is more and more the demonic egotistical arrogant individual, he is meant to be. SZ, disappointed about this attitude of AL tries to trivialize it a bit for his future readers.

20.2 Opus 132 ( the String Quartet in A – Minor ) also known as String Quartet no.15 written in 1825 by Ludwig von Beethoven

A string quartet is a musical ensemble of four string players – two violin players, a violist and a cellist – or a piece written to be performed by such a group. The string quartet is one of the most prominent chamber ensembles in classical music, with most major composers, from the late 18th century onwards, writing string quartets.

Ever since Haydn's day the string quartet has been prestigious and considered a true test of the composer's art. This may be partly because the palette of sound is more restricted than with orchestral music, forcing the music to stand more on its own rather than relying on tonal color; or from the inherently contrapuntal tendency in music written for four equal instruments.

Quartet composition flourished in the Classical era, with Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert writing famous series of quartets to set alongside Haydn's. A slight slackening in the pace of quartet composition occurred in the 19th century; here, composers often wrote only one quartet, perhaps to show that they could fully command this hallowed genre, although Antonín Dvořák wrote a series of 14. With the onset of the Modern era of classical music, the quartet returned to full popularity among composers, and played a key role in the development of Arnold Schoenberg, Béla Bartók, and Dmitri Shostakovich especially.

Opus 132 ( the String Quartet in A – Minor ) by Beethoven consists of five movements

I Assai sostenuto-Allegro ca 9¼ min
II Allegro ma non tanto ca 8¼ min
III Canzona di ringraziamento (Heiliger Dankgesang eines Genesenden an die Gottheit, in der lydischen Tonart: Molto Adagio ca 15 min
IV Alla marcia, assai Vivace ca 2 min
V Allegro appassionato ca 6¼ min

20.3 The Lydian movement, the “Hymn of Thanksgiving upon Recovery”

The Lydian is the third movement of Opus 132. Beethoven wrote this piece after recovering from a serious illness which he had feared to be fatal during the winter of 1824-5. Out of recognition he headed the movement with the words, "Heiliger Dankgesang eines Genesenen an die Gottheit, in der lydischen Tonart" (Holy Song of Thanksgiving to the Divinity, by a convalescent in the Lydian Mode).

20.5 I drain that cup at every feast…

From “Der König in Thule” ("The King in Thule"), a six verse poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, written in 1774. The ballad is composed in an artificially obsolete poetic language to make it sound like a traditional folk song. 

Goethe used it later in his tragedy Faust (part I, lines 2759–82) as Gretchen's (Margaret) introduction. The girl ponders who the young man was; she met just a while before. She sings the text of “The King in Thule” to herself while undressing.

I drain that cup at every feast…: Al is awed by the Opus 132 for it is barely playable because of its complexity.

There are things in music, at least in this music, that cannot be characterized by an adjective…

20.5 “I learned that Adrian was looking for a text for an Opera…”

AL is working on different pieces of Music. SZ sees in them early drafts of what will one day be Adrian’s masterpiece “the Apocalypsis”

- He was increasingly preoccupied with an interest in Music wedded to the word
- composing Lieder
- taking his material from…Mediterranean verse, Italian poetry, Divine comedy ( Purgatorio & Paradiso )
- Paul Verlaine
- William Blake poetry

20.6 Wendell Kretzschmar has introduced AL to the Café Central Group, a bohemian club of students, artists, publishers etc. Rüdiger Schildknapp is also one of them

20.7 Rüdiger Schildknapp

His name has been announced a few times, but in this chapter, we are finally introduced to Rudiger Schildknapp. What do we need to know ?

-          Born in Silesia – not a true German then? – In his early thirties
-          Of humble origin with a sense of social inferiority
-          Grown up with an abusive father
-          Bad student
-          Amateur devoted to literature
-          English translator
-          Funny / foolish / boyish
-          Poor / threadbare clothing / still the looks of an elegant sporty gentleman
-          Handsome in a Germanic way admired by numerous women : broad shoulders, tall, small hips, long legs

Opinion SZ: Rüdiger Schildknapp is an imposter 

-          Not sporty at all
-          Poor health – tends to TBC
-          More a flirt than a real lover
-          Takes advantage of his many female admirers (presents, free lunches etc. )
-          Vain and very worried about his ageing

20.8  RS has the same eyes as AL ( strange detail – important ? )

20.9 RS has refused to help AL with Love’s Labour Lost. But no hard-feelings; RS is very funny and makes AL laugh a lot

20.10 RZ sounds like a jealous maiden when speaking about RS