Sunday, February 9, 2014

as if a manifesto

Why do we love certain symphonies, while merely appreciating or tolerating others? And when we listen, is it for evocation of images, holography of emotions, drama of gestures, or efflorescence of structures? Maybe a blending of all four?

I love Beethoven's Symphony No. 4 in B flat major, Op. 60 (1806). I can't quite put a decisive finger on why this symphony affects me the way it does. It's not about image, emotion, gesture, or structure. I've been pondering this thing for many years.  If I don't figure it out soon, my head will continue to explode in slow motion until there's no mind mass left.

I have a suspicion that I love this symphony because it sounds like the formal release of the Spirit of Aesthetics. And how it wordlessly suggests a manifesto: deepest art always moves with an aspect of beauty. 

That Beethoven fellow was exceptional. 


  1. After such an introduction--what words could suffice?--I admit to committing the peccadillo of dozing off, while simultaneously listening and remembering Zagajewski's poem on Beethoven--but not before the sense of contrast had seeped through to me, a concentration of shadows serving as an introduction to bright flashes of--"as if hydrochloric acid burned a window in velvet, thus opening a passage to even smoother velvet--....velvet growing under velvet, like a leaf hidden safely in another leaf....Unending adagios, but first and foremost joy, wild joy of shape, the laughing sister of death"--and then I was jarred awake by the music. And listened again.

  2. How would you describe how it affects you? I am curious, since you have ruled out many ways.

    1. It affects me like this: a suspension of angst; a communing with beauty.