The risibly random ramblings of an apanthropic hemegomisian hadeharian polymathetischian technophilic tonopoeic transhumanist logolept.

O for a Muse of... dust and bone?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

One that would still "ascend | The brightest heaven of invention," in any event.

(Félix-François Georges Philibert) Ziem (the painter) was dining with two friends at the house of Paul Chevandier de Valdrôme at No. 39 Rue de la Tour d'Auvergne in Paris. The host, somewhat of an eccentric, kept a skeleton in one of his closets and displayed it to Ziem. When the latter met Chopin he told him about the skeleton and Chopin, becoming morbidly impressed with the story, asked Ziem to let him see it. A dinner party was arranged at Valdrôme's house and during the dessert, Ziem mentioned Chopin's desire. The skeleton was fetched by the servant and placed near the piano in the drawing room.

Ziem describes the scene that followed:

Chopin, his face pale and his eyes opened to their extent, had enveloped himself in a long winding sheet, and pressed against his throbbing breast he held the ghastly skeleton. The silence of the salon was all at once broken by the sound of music—slow, sad, profound, splendid music, music such as none of us had ever heard before. Immeasurably amazed we were as the beautiful sounds succeeded each other and were gradually fashioned into the world-renowned Funeral March. On to the end played Chopin, still grasping the skeleton, and so spellbound were we that not until the last note was struck did we really recover our senses. Then we hastened to congratulate the shroud-robed musician, and reached his side just as he was on the point of fainting.

So... anyone know where I can get a Muse like that?

Well, I mean, it needn't actually be a corpse or anything; just something profoundly affecting enough to generate music of such quality. I haven't been doing too terribly much in the way of new music lately, though of what I've done it's certainly been terrible. Thus the search for a Muse.

Tonight, I have revisited a couple of older pieces, one original, one a sort of collage of other works, and made new, and I hope better quality, recordings of the same. If there's interest, I will offer one here for any whose ears will endure it. That one, the original score, is the result of an evening spent with one of my own ghosts on the night of her birthday, three years on from her death. It is called "Nevroză", after the poem of Bacovia that always brings her to mind.



Outside, it's snowing horribly;
my lover's playing the piano—
and the town looks as gloomy
    as snow in a cemetery.

My lover's playing a funeral march,
and I puzzle myself wondering
why she chooses to play that…
    like snow in a cemetery.

She weeps and she falls on the keys,
and she whimpers painfully as in a fever…
in discord the piano dies,
    like snow in a cemetery.

And I lament, and, trembling,
spread out her hair over her shoulders…
outside the town is deserted,
    like snow in a cemetery.

Afară ninge prăpădind,
Iubita cântă la clavir,—
Si târgul stă întunecat,
De parcă ninge-n cimitir.

Iubita cântă-un mars funebru,
iar eu nedumerit mă mir:
De ce să cânte-un mars funebru…
Si ninge ca-ntr-un cimitir.

Ea plânge si-a cazut pe clape,
Si geme greu ca în delir…
În dezacord clavirul moare,
Si ninge ca-ntr-un cimitir.

Si plâng si eu si tremurând
Pe umeri pletele-i răsfir…
Afară târgul stă pustiu,
Si ninge ca-ntr-un cimitir.

You can hear the work here.

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