Quasi una Fantasia
TODESSA SEASON #2, CYCLE: PRIME TIMES PASSATI, EPISODE #1
PRIME TIMES PASSATI
Prime Times Passati
Livestream from Todessa
Cast: Totleb & Co.
Soundmix: Todonsky Junior
Directed by: T.L.
Moonlight-Sonata, Piano Lesson, Immortal Beloved, Giraffa gracilis
Backbone Flute (Флейта-позвоночник)
a poem by Vladimir Mayakovsky written in the autumn of 1915 and first published in December of that year in Vzyal (Взял, Took) almanac, heavily censored. Its first unabridged version appeared in March 1919, in Vladimir Mayakovsky’s Collected Works 1909-1919.
Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hasard (A Throw of the Dice will Never Abolish Chance)
a poem by the French Symbolist poet Stéphane Mallarmé. The poem was written by Mallarmé in 1897 and published in May of that same year in the magazine Cosmopolis, but was published in book form only in 1914, 16 years after the author’s death, based on his extensive notes and exacting instructions. The first edition was printed on July 10, 1914 by the Imprimerie Sainte Catherine at Bruges, in a private 60-copy issue.
byname of Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp Minor, Op. 27, No. 2: Sonata quasi una fantasia, solo piano work by Ludwig van Beethoven, admired particularly for its mysterious, gently arpeggiated, and seemingly improvised first movement. The piece was completed in 1801, published the following year, and premiered by the composer himself, whose hearing was still adequate but already deteriorating at the time. The nickname Moonlight Sonata traces to the 1830s, when German Romantic poet Ludwig Rellstab published a review in which he likened the first movement of the piece to a boat floating in the moonlight on Switzerland’s Lake Lucerne. Beethoven dedicated the work to Countess Giulietta Guicciardi, a 16-year-old aristocrat who was his student for a short time.
(born February 6, 1903, Chillán, Chile—died June 9, 1991, Mürzzuschlag, Austria), Chilean pianist who was one of the most-renowned performers of the 20th century. Arrau’s father, an eye doctor, died when Arrau—the youngest of three children—was one year old. His mother supported the family by giving piano lessons and must have been gratified when her own son proved to be a child prodigyat the piano. Claudio studied privately in Santiago for two years and then traveled at the expense of the Chilean government to Berlin, where he studied from 1912 to 1918 with Martin Krause, once a student of Franz Liszt. Arrau’s serious career began with a recital in Berlin in 1914, and during the next decade he toured extensively in Europe, South America, and the United States. Between 1924 and 1940 he taught at Julius Stern’s Conservatory in Berlin, and in 1941 he moved permanently to the United States, becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen only in 1979, after the rise of Augusto Pinochet in Chile. Arrau continued his frequent touring past his 80th birthday. Arrau focused his considerable powers on the music of Liszt, Johannes Brahms, Frédéric Chopin, Robert Schumann, Claude Debussy, and, above all, Ludwig van Beethoven. In 1935 he played all the keyboard works of J.S. Bach in a series of 12 concerts. His performances of the complete piano sonatas of Beethoven (there are 32) were broadcast by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
For my brothers Carl and [Johann] Beethoven.
Oh you men who think or say that I am malevolent, stubborn, or misanthropic, how greatly do you wrong me. You do not know the secret cause which makes me seem that way to you. From childhood on, my heart and soul have been full of the tender feeling of goodwill, and I was even inclined to accomplish great things. But, think that for six years now I have been hopelessly afflicted, made worse by senseless physicians, from year to year deceived with hopes of improvement, finally compelled to face the prospect of a lasting malady (whose cure will take years or, perhaps, be impossible). Though born with a fiery, active temperament, even susceptible to the diversions of society, I was soon compelled to isolate myself, to live life alone. If at times I tried to forget all this, oh how harshly was I flung back by the doubly sad experience of my bad hearing. Yet it was impossible for me to say to people, “Speak louder, shout, for I am deaf.” Ah, how could I possibly admit an infirmity in the one sense which ought to be more perfect in me than others, a sense which I once possessed in the highest perfection, a perfection such as few in my profession enjoy or ever have enjoyed. – Oh I cannot do it; therefore forgive me when you see me draw back when I would have gladly mingled with you. My misfortune is doubly painful to me because I am bound to be misunderstood; for me there can be no relaxation with my fellow men, no refined conversations, no mutual exchange of ideas. I must live almost alone, like one who has been banished; I can mix with society only as much as true necessity demands. If I approach near to people a hot terror seizes upon me, and I fear being exposed to the danger that my condition might be noticed. Thus it has been during the last six months which I have spent in the country. By ordering me to spare my hearing as much as possible, my intelligent doctor almost fell in with my own present frame of mind, though sometimes I ran counter to it by yielding to my desire for companionship. But what a humiliation for me when someone standing next to me heard a flute in the distance and I heard nothing, or someone standing next to me heard a shepherd singing and again I heard nothing. Such incidents drove me almost to despair; a little more of that and I would have ended me life – it was only my art that held me back. Ah, it seemed to me impossible to leave the world until I had brought forth all that I felt was within me. So I endured this wretched existence – truly wretched for so susceptible a body, which can be thrown by a sudden change from the best condition to the very worst. – Patience, they say, is what I must now choose for my guide, and I have done so – I hope my determination will remain firm to endure until it pleases the inexorable Parcae to break the thread. Perhaps I shall get better, perhaps not; I am ready. – Forced to become a philosopher already in my twenty-eighth year, – oh it is not easy, and for the artist much more difficult than for anyone else. – Divine One, thou seest my inmost soul thou knowest that therein dwells the love of mankind and the desire to do good. – Oh fellow men, when at some point you read this, consider then that you have done me an injustice; someone who has had misfortune man console himself to find a similar case to his, who despite all the limitations of Nature nevertheless did everything within his powers to become accepted among worthy artists and men. – You, my brothers Carl and [Johann], as soon as I am dead, if Dr. Schmid is still alive, ask him in my name to describe my malady, and attach this written documentation to his account of my illness so that so far as it possible at least the world may become reconciled to me after my death. – At the same time, I declare you two to be the heirs to my small fortune (if so it can be called); divide it fairly; bear with and help each other. What injury you have done me you know was long ago forgiven. To you, brother Carl, I give special thanks for the attachment you have shown me of late. It is my wish that you may have a better and freer life than I have had. Recommend virtue to your children; it alone, not money, can make them happy. I speak from experience; this was what upheld me in time of misery. Thanks to it and to my art, I did not end my life by suicide – Farewell and love each other – I thank all my friends, particularly Prince Lichnowsky and Professor Schmid – I would like the instruments from Prince L. to be preserved by one of you, but not to be the cause of strife between you, and as soon as they can serve you a better purpose, then sell them. How happy I shall be if can still be helpful to you in my grave – so be it. – With joy I hasten towards death. – If it comes before I have had the chance to develop all my artistic capacities, it will still be coming too soon despite my harsh fate, and I should probably wish it later – yet even so I should be happy, for would it not free me from a state of endless suffering? – Come when thou wilt, I shall meet thee bravely. – Farewell and do not wholly forget me when I am dead; I deserve this from you, for during my lifetime I was thinking of you often and of ways to make you happy – be so –
Ludwig van Beethoven
October 6th, 1802
THE “IMMORTAL BELOVED” LETTERS
After Ludwig van Beethoven’s death on 26 March 1827, his sometime secretary Anton Schindler and two close friends combed through the composer’s last apartment, hunting for some bank bonds he had bequeathed to his nephew. They found more than they had bargained for. In a small drawer, they discovered the Heiligenstadt Testament, in which Beethoven had described his devastating battle with deafness in 1802; and with it, an apparently unsent love letter, addressed only to a woman he terms his ‘Immortal Beloved’.
6 July, morning
My angel, my all, my own self — only a few words today, and that too with pencil (with yours) — only till tomorrow is my lodging definitely fixed. What abominable waste of time in such things — why this deep grief, where necessity speaks?
Can our love persist otherwise than through sacrifices, than by not demanding everything? Canst thou change it, that thou are not entirely mine, I not entirely thine? Oh, God, look into beautiful Nature and compose your mind to the inevitable. Love demands everything and is quite right, so it is for me with you, for you with me — only you forget so easily, that I must live for you and for me — were we quite united, you would notice this painful feeling as little as I should . . .
. . . We shall probably soon meet, even today I cannot communicate my remarks to you, which during these days I made about my life — were our hearts close together, I should probably not make any such remarks. My bosom is full, to tell you much — there are moments when I find that speech is nothing at all. Brighten up — remain my true and only treasure, my all, as I to you. The rest the gods must send, what must be for us and shall.
Monday evening, 6 July
You suffer, you, my dearest creature. Just now I perceive that letters must be posted first thing early. Mondays — Thursdays — the only days, when the post goes from here to K. You suffer — oh! Where I am, you are with me, with me and you, I shall arrange that I may live with you. What a life!
So! Without you — pursued by the kindness of the people here and there, whom I mean — to desire to earn just as little as they earn — humility of man towards men — it pains me — and when I regard myself in connection with the Universe, what I am, and what he is — whom one calls the greatest — and yet — there lies herein again the godlike of man. I weep when I think you will probably only receive on Saturday the first news from me — as you too love — yet I love you stronger — but never hide yourself from me. Good night — as I am taking the waters, I must go to bed. Oh God — so near! so far! Is it not a real building of heaven, our Love — but as firm, too, as the citadel of heaven.
Good morning, on 7 July
Even in bed my ideas yearn towards you, my Immortal Beloved, here and there joyfully, then again sadly, awaiting from Fate, whether it will listen to us. I can only live, either altogether with you or not at all. Yes, I have determined to wander about for so long far away, until I can fly into your arms and call myself quite at home with you, can send my soul enveloped by yours into the realm of spirits — yes, I regret, it must be. You will get over it all the more as you know my faithfulness to you; never another one can own my heart, never — never! O God, why must one go away from what one loves so, and yet my life in W. as it is now is a miserable life. Your love made me the happiest and unhappiest at the same time. At my actual age I should need some continuity, sameness of life — can that exist under our circumstances? Angel, I just hear that the post goes out every day — and must close therefore, so that you get the L. at once. Be calm — love me — today — yesterday.
What longing in tears for you — You — my Life — my All — farewell. Oh, go on loving me — never doubt the faithfullest heart
Of your beloved
CARTA DE DON QUIJOTE A DULCINEA DEL TOBOSO
Soberana y alta señora:
El ferido de punta de ausencia y el llagado de las telas del corazó, dulcísima Dulcinea del Toboso, te envía la salud que él no tiene. Si tu fermosura me desprecia, si tu valor no es en mi pro, si tus desdenes son en mi afincamiento, maguer que yo sea asaz de sufrido, mal podré sostenerme en esta cuita, que, además de ser fuerte, es muy duradera. Mi buen escudero Sancho te dará entera relación, ¡oh bella ingrata, amada enemiga mía!, del modo que por tu causa quedo: si gustares de acorrerme, tuyo soy; y si no, haz lo que te viniere en gusto, que con acabar mi vida habré satisfecho a tu crueldad y a mi deseo. Tuyo hasta la muerte,
El Caballero de la Triste Figura
Claudio Arrau, Ludwig van Beethoven, William Shakespeare, Владимир Маяковский, Артур Ваха, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Jose María Pou, Werner Krauss, Stéphane Mallarmé, Denis Lavant, Britannica, archive.org, freesound.org