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Impromptus: Bachís Themes



Henri N. Levinspuhl wrote (January 6, 2004):
Impromptus: Bach's Themes


"I agree perfectly with this whole effort to cling to form, insofar as it continues to be the medium through which we have the idea, but it should not be forgotten that it is the idea which should determine the form, not the form which determines the idea. We should keep in mind that life is not something abstract but something extremely individual. We should not forget that, for example, from a poetic geniusí position of immediacy, form is not the basis of life, but life is the basis of form."

Søren Kierkegaard,
Our Journalistic Literature, November 28, 1835

Henri N. Levinspuhl wrote (January 6, 2004):
Impromptus: Bachís Thems - BWV 201, MUSIC (The Contest)

When artlessness is universalized, culture is destroyed, being no more (as after the steps of Giambattista Vico) born in wildernessí refinement ó far from it, the seeds of jungle without law are sown in the concept of culture, the right of the strongest one being a physiologic search for "evolution", the mass-media prompting an improper pride at the grassroots level of aesthetics, and disdain (formerly but a temptation of refinement) branded in the multitudeís indifference, a new culture claiming to have the number at its side ó and the number, as soon as its noise fills the air, convinces foolishness to boast about the decline of artís influence, the winds of confusion indeed laughing at the unashamed rendezvous between time and mediocrity... when a billow of meanness devastates the earth, when the low impulses of blood are exalted, politeness crushed under the crudeness of injury, an insurrection putting aside worthiness with a stratagem of inventing psychologically evils to calumniate it; for foolishness regarded as keenness of mind increases generation after generation, and what departs as boasting disdaining wisdom multiplies easily, and desires to develop itself till the earth celebrates its hatred, and men rejoice, and make merry, and send gifts one to another on the dead bodies of the detested people.

Henri N. Levinspuhl wrote (January 10, 2004):
Impromptus: Bach's themes (BWV 208)

Chasing merrily after a wholesome delight when the days are well ruled, and not therefore as a lazy and careless disorder of life, but as a joy settled in good consciousness, and not therefore as a heap of anxieties rising from the ruins of a cauterized consciousness, but as a gracious day shining on him who uses well his own scepter of time, and not therefore imbued with the insidious art of greed, the hidden art of plundering, or enticed into passions utterly askew (despite of those learned inclined to set them free), but as an innocent fresh air, a lovely walk in the meadows and woods, with an arrow traveling towards its prey: Bach's music.

Henri N. Levinspuhl wrote (January 25, 2004):
Impromptus BWV 212: Exceeding Taxes

"Your good heart
has prepared the soil
on wish you will surely flourish."

Although exploitation usually tempts, as injustice to anger and force, being us treated as Knauthain and Cospuden, let us talk about the custom-house's exceeding taxes as lightly as of the funny side of natural love's weaknesses, offering just an innuendo, as obvious as dalliance's teasing when caught in the turmoil of affection. For bribery cannot buy our tax-collectors' reputation, their wives dressed in virtue, driving home not covered with pride, but accessible to the peasants. And although 60% is hard to put up with, here you are, Caesar - and give us a part of that to us Brazilians more expensive, while we expect an easy street to the custom-house, that their employees might be prosperous with our faithful payment, being able to rear their children with the milk of profusion - for if there is no zorro to get us freedom from the exceeding taxes, in the tavern we'll be merry, listening to what is fully paid, our home the tavern where cheerful sounds are served.

Henri N. Levinspuhl wrote (April 28, 2004):
Singular Boats

While very occasional in these boundaries, interests are quite odd, and the same goal can be multifarious even when all the arrows and bows just pursue its center. I am one of those mute list members who havenít find peers not interested in edifying the castles through which a historical performance may turn even more or less informed. I salute those nevertheless absorbed in offering another brick to the walls of interpretation. In other words, I cannot neither play nor sing proficiently, but have myself a life to live, being therefore interested in Bach only to a certain degree, trying not to be so curious as to enclose my intellectual efforts in a distant planet I will never abide, trying to connect my life to his works, and caring not if art have recently decided not to serve anyone but itself, since I will not serve such an art, as well as it does not serve neither men nor God.

Similarly, and in this respect I call forth Mr. Oronís exorbitant example, I am not in conditions of voting for best performances, and just imagine you, Aryeh, among your exorbitant set of 208 compact discs of the same Mass ó I hope everyone capture the respect I do nurture while, in good mood, you will perhaps be able to confess yourself cutting a figure with such a collection ó in good mood.

But now, let me speak to those who, like me, have kept their lips closed, almost shyly, expecting not to be misunderstood, as I hope I will not, as if I were trying to stop another oneís ship with my anchor. No, I am just prompting the mute people differently engaged in Bachís music to depart from harbor in their own singular boats.

Henry N. Levinspuhl wrote (June 17, 2004):
Impromptus: Bach's Themes: Matthäuspassion BWV 244

Kommt, ihr Töchter, helft mir klagen,
Come, daughters, help me bewail,

The lamentís reason portrays its nature. When, as the daughters of Zion, we are invited to moan in contemplating the bridegroom, the comprehensionís intricate texture, that human heartís profound well, unfathomable even under the shrewd lenses of a genuine psychological flair, sets in soul the deepest reasons, being the most united lamentations nevertheless different ones; for there are not two individuals entirely equal in the whole world. Such inequality is yet welcome when, in the aggregate of motives that embrace the sincere emotions, truth is mixed, rooted so intimately that turns natural its presidency over the feelings. This is not a heap of senseless emotive exacerbation; not a moment of frenetic and corybantic impetus; not an uncontrollable catharsisí excitement (neither induced nor spontaneous); not a confusion of chaotic and misgoverned fiery impulses ascending voluptuously from the shady cavern of unconsciousness; not an electric explosion of immoderate decibels in search for a maddened frenzy, void and insignificant; but love and truth embracing each other, and the contrition for the squandered time far from that atriums of love, that chamber inside the human soul, where eternity and paradise touch each other and whisper their affectionate choir and aria, where God and man are one, where the unity that seemed impossible is fulfilled to the astonishment of the humble man, where, to each of his tears, there is a reason of love.

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