Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Squail of the day

Gustav Mahler conducting, from a 1901 edition of the German humor magazine Fliegende Blätter ["Flying Leaves"]. At the time Mahler was the director of the Vienna State Opera. Click to enlarge.

"It is only after fifty, sixty, seventy years of world holocausts, of the simultaneous advance of democracy with our increasing inability to stop making war, of the simultaneous magnification of national pieties with intensification of our active resistance to social equality – only after we have experienced all this through the smoking ovens of Auschwitz, the frantically bombed jungles of Vietnam, through Hungary, Suez, the Bay of Pigs, the farce-trial of Sinyavsky and Daniel, the refueling of the Nazi machine, the murder in Dallas, the arrogance of South Africa, the Hiss-Chambers travesty, the Trotzkyite purges, Black Power, Red Guards, the Arab encirclement of Israel, the plague of McCarthyism, the Tweedledum armament race – only after all this can we finally listen to Mahler’s music and understand that it foretold all. And in the foretelling it showered a rain of beauty on this world that has not been equaled since."

—"MAHLER: HIS TIME HAS COME" by Leonard Bernstein, High Fidelity, April 1967. Lenny may have been on a bad acid trip that day—really bad.


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