Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Pieter Brueghel the Elder-Luilekkerland (Dutch 1567)

A Few Final Words on Elgar, Godar, Bittova and the lot...

I always imagined myself being the kind of rich guy that brings that really nice berylline bottle of sherry to Millionaire Island where they smoke cigars and hunt human beings for sport. I have seen the sun rise through (the dirtier, emphysematic golden prism of) that very bottle on occasion, though sadly the vignette has not turned out to be the case of my life...

I do like to unwind though.

So imagine the feeling when I checked my mail, only to find some of the heartiest, most analytical and just plain old caring responses I ever got--to the tandem featurettes I logged last Saturday eve and Sunday morning, were submitted secretly.

To paraphrase, while shielding identity, one writer said my effusions over Ms. Iva Bittova went a little too far in certain places, not far enough in others. She pointed out that, contrary to the obvious inclination, the gross sexy parts were among the latter.

What she felt I overstated most were the ties to pop music, that Godar's cycle as it stands, and as spearheaded by Ms. Bittova, is a contemporary palimpsest owing more to early music, eastern European revivalist styles, folk music, Yiddish lullabies, etc..

I gotta say: eh.

I still hear Kate Bush the instant those strings blaze. I liked this person, whom I suspect I sorta know, but can't say for sure, at least not from the email address. She advocated a kind of listening and concentration technique that made earlier recapitulations of Mr. Alex Ross, by my amigo, Alford, seem downright Presbyterian by contrast. Perhaps hence the cloak and dagger. I am both disappointed and satisfied. You wear the aura like a mohawk.

Now one of the "Elgar" correspondents was not nearly as swelling. In fact he was too nice and easy for me to have taken any offense. I admire his economy, though, and his--I suspect, muzzled knowledge of the British composer. At any moment I felt the seam might've split on his opinion sac, and out would've sprayed things only a doting Elgar (great-?) grandchild would know, or worse, some custard-colored Oxonian scholar, whose own diminutive shadow resembles an inverted scallion. This in particular is how I explain the drab, too-knowing knell in his writing, and the total lack of cruelty as well... But without evidence I can't really find in my suspicions. One meaningful fingerprint remains, and it is in the form of a single paragraph, itself small enough to tack on lightly.

Forgive me:

You really overcompensate Elgar his compositional foresight: he did not, as you impress, invent those modern fantasmagoria, [ed. actually I came well short of saying he did!] missing his real contribution: that tightwinding of the craft's flame. He was a kind of noble conservative, if such mammals are to be believed in. In repressive authority you have your Anne Bradstreet, we have Sir Edward, late, hirsute Sir Edward.

I really like that bit about Anne Bradstreet. And the mammalian hairiness of the English, which I never knew. But what do I know?

Next time please use the comments option.

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