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Tag: Homer

“The Story of Aglauros, transform’d into a Statue” (lll) – Ovid


          The Envious


                  Gustave Doré





all mythologies have their picture, their

rendition, their evocation of an afterlife,

states of either resignation, in earlier

traditions, perdition or bliss in the later

Christian view, manifest, these latter,

in Dante, his depictions of Hell,

Purgatory, and Heaven in his

Commediaare probably its most

explicit evocations


the Greek and Roman pictures of

their own representative Underworld,

available in Homer, Horace, Virgil,

notably, is less compartmentalized,

less extreme in its divisions, a gloom

pervades, but nowhere fire and

brimstone, nor the diametrically

opposed consolation of archangels

and trumpets, only an unending

sense of desolation, be one worthy

of it or not


limbo comes to mind



but Envy’s realm is actual, not

belated, in the Ancient Greek and

Roman traditions, it is of this world,

present, however horrid, a place

that lurks in the hearts of men, of

people, always, ever, accessible


Dante situates his nexus of Envy in

Purgatory, the afterlife, the nether

world, its Second Circle, of seven,

Wrath, Envy, Pride, Lust, Gluttony,

Greed, Sloth


for Ovid, you can reach Envy’s

dominion, in the nearby mountainous

areas, if only you’ll follow Minerva


the one course is transcendental,

the other, organic, note, physical,



            Directly to the cave her course she steer’d;

            Against the gates her martial lance she rear’d;

            The gates flew open, and the fiend appear’d.


the fiend, Envy herself

            A pois’nous morsel in her teeth she chew’d,

            And gorg’d the flesh of vipers for her food.



             Minerva loathing turn’d away her eye;


as, incontrovertibly, would I

            The hideous monster, rising heavily,

            Came stalking forward with a sullen pace,

            And left her mangled offals on the place.

            Soon as she saw the goddess gay and bright,

            She fetch’d a groan at such a chearful sight.

            Livid and meagre were her looks, her eye

            In foul distorted glances turn’d awry;

            A hoard of gall her inward parts possess’d,

            And spread a greenness o’er her canker’d breast;

            Her teeth were brown with rust, and from her tongue,

            In dangling drops, the stringy poison hung.

            She never smiles but when the wretched weep,

            Nor lulls her malice with a moment’s sleep,

            Restless in spite: while watchful to destroy,

            She pines and sickens at another’s joy;

            Foe to her self, distressing and distrest,

            She bears her own tormentor in her breast.


the passage, without explication,

speaks for itself, I cede to its

manifest erudition

            The Goddess gave (for she abhorr’d her sight)


her sight, what she was looking


            A short command: “To Athens speed thy flight;

            On curst Aglauros try thy utmost art,

            And fix thy rankest venoms in her heart.”


Minerva condemns, curs[es], 


            This said, her spear she push’d against the ground,

            And mounting from it with an active bound,

            Flew off to Heav’n:


Minerva reminds me of my own

generation’s Wonder Woman



meanwhile, the hag, Envy, with

eyes askew


            Look’d up, and mutter’d curses as she flew;

            For sore she fretted, and began to grieve

            At the success which she her self must give.


success, the humiliation of


            Then takes her staff, hung round with wreaths ofthorn,

            And sails along, in a black whirlwind born,


the picture of a witch on a

broomstick shouldn’t

here be unanticipated 

            O’er fields and flow’ry meadows: where she steers

            Her baneful course, a mighty blast appears,

            Mildews and blights; the meadows are defac’d,

            The fields, the flow’rs, and the whole years laidwaste:


the whole years, the yearly crops


            On mortals next, and peopled towns she falls,

            And breathes a burning plague among their walls.


the, not unfamiliar to us, season,

now, of the witch



R ! chard

“The Story of Aglauros, transform’d into a Statue” – Ovid



      The Dancers” (c.1905)


               Maurice Denis





            This done, the God flew up on high,


This done, Hermes, the God, had just

turned Battus to a Touch stone


                                                          and pass’d

            O’er lofty Athens, by Minerva grac’d,


Minerva, the Latin version of Athena,

was patroness of Athens, grac’d,

indeed, by the very Parthenon, then,

and still now, her temple


            And wide Munichia, whilst his eyes survey

            All the vast region that beneath him lay.


Munichia, the ancient name for a steep

hill, now called Kastella, in Piraeus, the

port of Athens

            ‘Twas now the feast, when each Athenian maid

            Her yearly homage to Minerva paid;


let me point out that during the period

when pantheism prevailed, which is to

say anything earlier than the Emperor

Constantine, 272 – 337 AD, who

established Christianity as the official

religion of the Roman Empire, and going

back to the very beginnings of recorded

history, but at the very least to the epics

of Homer, his Iliad, his Odysseythe 8th

Century BC, which tell of the Trojan War

and its aftermath, from the even more

distant 12th Century BC, homage was

paid, around the Mediterranean, to gods

and goddesses of Olympus, temples

were built, rituals performed in their

honour, much as in the Christian Era,

believers attend church, build cathedrals

to their preferred deity, feasts to Minerva

were as fervent then, in other words, as,

later, were those of devotees to their own

Christmas and Easter, say, celebrations

            In canisters, with garlands cover’d o’er,

            High on their heads, their mystick gifts they bore:

            And now, returning in a solemn train,

            The troop of shining virgins fill’d the plain.


see above


            The God well pleas’d beheld the pompous show,


The God, Hermes still


            And saw the bright procession pass below;

            Then veer’d about, and took a wheeling flight,

            And hover’d o’er them: as the spreading kite,


kitea bird of prey

            That smells the slaughter’d victim from on high,

            Flies at a distance, if the priests are nigh,

            And sails around, and keeps it in her eye:


her eye, the kite is given the feminine

gender here, perhaps following upon

the original Latin word’s grammar


            So kept the God the virgin quire in view,

            And in slow winding circles round them flew.


quire, archaic spelling of choir, a

group of instrumentalists or singers


            As Lucifer excells the meanest star,

            Or, as the full-orb’d Phoebe, Lucifer;


Lucifer, the Morning Star, the planet

Venus, as it appears in the East

before sunrise


Phoebe, pre-Olympian goddess

representative of the moon, thus

in the verse above the very moon

            So much did Herse all the rest outvy,

            And gave a grace to the solemnity.


Herse, a Greek princess


outvy, outvie, to surpass

            Hermes was fir’d, as in the clouds he hung:


fir’d, inflamed, aroused, thus

flung as would be a missile,

the word fir’d here shimmers

with both meanings

            So the cold bullet, that with fury slung

            From Balearick engines mounts on high,

            Glows in the whirl, and burns along the sky.


Balearick engines, slingshots,

the people of the Balearic Islands,

off the coast of Spain, were famous

in ancient times for their use of the

slingshot, or sling, especially as a



            At length he pitch’d upon the ground, and show’d

            The form divine, the features of a God.

            He knew their vertue o’er a female heart,


their vertue, the virtues of both [t]he

form divine and the features of a

God, however be these identical,

allow grammatically for the

possessive adjective their to be

used here

            And yet he strives to better them by art.


Hermes would rather seduce with

art, which is to say with charm 

and artistry, than by his august

credentials merely

            He hangs his mantle loose, and sets to show

            The golden edging on the seam below;

            Adjusts his flowing curls, and in his hand

            Waves, with an air, the sleep-procuring wand;

            The glitt’ring sandals to his feet applies,

            And to each heel the well-trim’d pinion ties.


pinion, the outer part of a bird’s wing,

including the flight feathers, which

Hermes applies to his sandals


            His ornaments with nicest art display’d,

            He seeks th’ apartment of the royal maid.


to be continued



R ! chard

“Metamorphoses” (The Giants’ War, III) – Ovid


    “Charon Carries Dead Souls across the River Styx(1861)


           Konstantin Makovsky




Jove, god of Thunder, speaks


            I was not more concern’d in that debate
            Of empire, when our universal state
            Was put to hazard, and the giant race
            Our captive skies were ready to imbrace: 


I was not especially disturbed, Jove says,

when the state of our universe was 

challenged, or debate[d], when the giants 

tried to usurp our territory, were ready to 

imbrace, or embrace, take on, our  

vulnerable, [o]ur captive, skies

            For tho’ the foe was fierce, the seeds of all
            Rebellion, sprung from one original; 


because the enemy, then, the adversary, 

came from the one original source, its 

however manifold predations, its 

however myriad desecrations, would’ve

been identifiable to Jove, not foreign, not

unmanageable, he would’ve recognized

the black sheep of the Olympian family,

the giants  


            Now, wheresoever ambient waters glide,
            All are corrupt, and all must be destroy’d. 


ambient, nearby, related, infected, corrupt,

all has been corrupted

            Let me this holy protestation make,
            By Hell, and Hell’s inviolable lake, 


here’s another anachronism, for Hell wouldn’t’ve 

been even a concept in the era of Ovid, where

the Underworld, and Hades, entirely different

afterworlds, would’ve prevailed, areas of 

persistent gloom and shade, see Homer here,

for instance, or Virgil


the Underworld of the ancient world was 

surrounded by five rivers, Hell’s inviolable 

lake, the most famous of which was the 

river Styx


in the Divine Comedy, Dante updates this 

watery boundary for his own 14th Century

readers, and makes it the passageway to

the fifth circle of Hell, where Charon 

remains, after even over a thousand 

years, the very same ferryman


see above


nor was there either any of our present

conception of Heaven, Heaven would’ve 

been Olympus then, the exclusive domain 

of the Gods, either Greek or Roman 


            I try’d whatever in the godhead lay: 


Jove says, I tried everything a god 

could use

            But gangren’d members must be lopt away,
            Before the nobler parts are tainted to decay. 


you’ve got to lop[ ] away, cut off, the bad 

parts before they infect the more vital 

components of the body

            There dwells below, a race of demi-gods,
            Of nymphs in waters, and of fawns in woods:
            Who, tho’ not worthy yet, in Heav’n to live,
            Let ’em, at least, enjoy that Earth we give. 


not all beings are corrupt, but nymphs 

and fawns, innocents, Jove pleads, 

should be given consideration on 

Earth, if they be not yet worthy of the 

majesty of Heav’n, and granted earthly 

areas of enjoyment in the confines of 

their forsaken place 

            Can these be thought securely lodg’d below,
            When I my self, who no superior know,
            I, who have Heav’n and Earth at my command,
            Have been attempted by Lycaon’s hand? 


if Lycaon could attack me, Jove, god 

of Thunder, asks, how can these 

innocents, nymphs, fawns, ever be 



             At this a murmur through the synod went,
             And with one voice they vote his punishment. 


the punishment of Lycaon, which we’ll 

soon encounter

             Thus, when conspiring traytors dar’d to doom
             The fall of Caesar, and in him of Rome,
             The nations trembled with a pious fear;
             All anxious for their earthly Thunderer: 


Thus, or in a similar manner, did the nations

of the earth tremble when Caesar, their 

earthly Thunderer, was assassinated 


nations, incidentally, is another anachronism,

nations didn’t appear on earth until the 

18th Century, with the French Revolution


             Nor was their care, o Caesar, less esteem’d
             By thee, than that of Heav’n for Jove was deem’d: 


Ovid addresses Caesar here, his contemporary,

and compares that emperor’s esteem for nations, 

his reliance on their allegiance, to the esteem 

Heav’n has for Jove


             Who with his hand, and voice, did first restrain
             Their murmurs, then resum’d his speech again. 


Jove calls for silence in the assembly

before speaking again

             The Gods to silence were compos’d, and sate
             With reverence, due to his superior state. 


The Gods … sate, or sat, then took heed,

bowing to Jove’s superior position


the tale of the punishment of Lycaon

will follow  


R ! chard



the indicative




              Gentile da Fabriano



since I’d only recently vaunted both the 

infinitive and the imperative moods of 

verbs in this venue, you might’ve 

expected that the indicative would 

soon follow


and here it is, the indicative, the mood 

of narratives, storytelling, the default 

mode, essentially, where most of our 

communication takes place, be it

oral or written


famous first lines of novels will attest

to that, lines you’ve probably heard 

before, however only incidentally, if 

not actually read


        It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,


from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities

and the rest is so good, I can’t, in all 

consciousness, exclude it


        it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was 

        the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the 

        season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the 

        spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. 




        Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. 


from Daphne du Maurier’s eerily Gothic 

Rebecca“, heiress to not only Charlotte 

Brontë’s Jane Eyre“, but also to her 

sister Emily’s, to my mind, much more 

accomplished work, Wuthering“, and 

indeed wonderful, Heights“, whereupon 

I’ll refrain from continuing to follow the

sentences, however compelling, for 

lack of space and time




        I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills.


from Out of Africa“, Karen Blixen’s

unforgettable novel, however brilliantly

translated to film, must take its place

here among towering introductory



       Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure. 


Proust’s answer to Homer, his “À la 

recherche du temps perdu“, his

Remembrance of Things Past  


      For a long time, I’d go to bed early.


which, as I read on, no less than

changed my life 


but that’s another story, however

totally engrossing


everywhere above, let me point out, 

the mood has been indicative, to a 

very verb, so unobtrusive you 

probably didn’t even notice 


in music, a counterpart for the 

indicative would be the allegro, 

the baseline, not too fast, not 

too slow, the tempo listeners 

would most easily respond to


but more about that only later, after

a traipse through the speculative 

conditional, then  the aspirational 



meanwhile, check this out, The

Heart of the Matter“, the Eagles, a

ballad, mostly indicatives, but with

here and there an infinitive, and a

peppering of conditionals, however

might these be signal, to utterly break 

your heart





R ! chard



Beethoven – piano sonata no.31, op.110 (3rd movement)‏


Woman Reading in a Garden (1902-03)


perhaps my best teacher ever was
my father, others never questioned
the orthodoxy, spewing out the
curriculum like it was sacred, dead,
untouchable, depriving it of its very

my father was a philosopher, God 
was a question, not an answer, I,
at the time, needed an answer
we were sent to a Catholic school,
my sister and I, where God was in 
everything, everywhere, omnipotent,
omniscient, and, like a father then, 
autocratic, industrious, demanding,
not unopposed to punishment
sins against the Father could be 
summarized, at that age, briefly,
do not kill, do not lie, do not 
disobey your parents, do not 
cheat on your husband, wife, 
and follow all the rituals of the 
Church, the Ten Christian 
Commandments, brought to 
you universally then by Charlton 
“Moses” Heston, under the aegis 
none of these graded offences  
applied to me, really, then, but 
lying, and disobeying one’s 
parents, the others were all so 
remote as to be inconsequential, 
though the Church kept up on 
our family’s abrogations of 
religious rites – non-attendance 
at Sunday mass, eating meat 
on Fridays, worse – while 
nevertheless tending dutifully
to our wayward souls, they told 
us, holding out for a final repentant 
we never lied at home, I’d lied about 
something once, and was so daunted
when my father probed, I sweated,
must’ve turned purple, not just red,
of embarrassment, I knew I couldn’t 
use that tactic again, I’d inexorably 
blush, flush
who put the Brylcreem on the dog,
he’d queried
not me, I trembled
my sister stood beside me, might 
not have even known anything 
about it, I can’t remember, though 
I recall her dismay, I think, at having 
been so blithely thrown under the 
bus, or maybe that’s just me 
my dad turned back to what he’d 
been doing, having, I’d understood, 
got his answer, proving himself to 
be to me thereby omniscient, I’d 
have no chance, I gathered, against 
something like that, this turned me 
into a good, an at least conscientious, 
my teachers, paradoxically, only 
ever took marks off for technical 
stuff, Math, History, French, they 
never taught me lessons   
a teacher, once, had asked me to
stand at the head of the class and 
read a passage from Shakespeare,
be Romeo, Mark Antony, Lear, I
can’t remember which
“O, pardon me, thou bleeding 
piece of earth, / That I am meek 
and gentle with these butchers!”,
I uttered, fraught with emotion,
“Thou art the ruins of the noblest 
man / That ever lived in the tide 
of times”
in my mind and in my body I was 
Mark Antony there, shot through 
with the weight of his friend’s 
brutal death, his own irretrievable 
my teacher laughed
what, I asked
you’re right into it, aren’t you, he 
replied, and shut me up right there 
to any public display of expression 
I didn’t stop reading Shakespeare 
though, but by myself
later I read Homer, Ovid, Proust,
others, did the same with music 
and art, made countless lifelong 
friends thereby, people I’ve always 
been able to turn to, even just in 
ruminative thought as their stories 
still pervaded me, diligently leading   
still the way, like guardian angels,  

“Tissue Gallery” – Loretta Collins Klobah‏

"Flower in a Jar" - Bada Shanren

Flower in a Jar (1689)

Bada Shanren


the only thing I’ll say about this poem
is that it’s about human tissue, also
that you’ll never forget it

though difficult perhaps, it is entirely
worth the journey – not only through
the stylistic thickets it might present
technically, but amongst the assorted
homuncul[i]” it more substantially,
even clinically, describes – for the
spotlight it presses onto our world,
not to mention its own manifest

alliteration, for instance, the limpid
lilting of its language, hand in hand
with its kindred, and complicit,
onomatopoeia, enumeration, prismatic
facets of an idea like aspects of an
iridescent gem, vivid, vital metaphors,
apt allegories, the very literary lot, to
relay a big picture, then an even bigger
picture, then a transcendence, an
expression of very grace, poetry
of the very highest order, of which
even a Homer, I warrant, would sing

Tissue Gallery“, my poem of,
at least, the year, and likely in my
memory forever

that’s, as I said, “the only thing I’ll
say about this poem”



Tissue Gallery

On the fifth floor
of the medical school,
sequestered from public view,
a black slab lab table
lined with old apothecary jars and twist-top jars
sealed with paraffin wax,
a shoal of not-fish treading bronzy water,
each homunculus labelled
in terms of in-utero days and weeks.

In this jarscape, a palm-size one
sitting with legs crossed,
arms raised protectively,
clasping the top of his head
like a child expecting blows in a parental brawl,
and this golem, a perfect mini-person,
holds fingers curved lightly in front of him,
as if playing a piano chord,
and this quelque chose has blackened soles –
in the womb,
a douen meant to range the barefoot forest,
those faceless stillborn and early-dead children with backward feet,
who lure human playmates to the woods
and fill their always hungry mouths with little crabs.

All casualties are clipped
with yellowed plastic navel clamps
that look like bones.
Here are twins, one larger than the other,
one malformed
with hydrocephalitic-fissured face
and this one’s wrinkly forehead,
the face of a worried eighty-year-old concentrating
on his death, an extra epaulette flap on his shoulder,
as if he is sprouting wings;
triplets like three piglets,
one with lots of hair,
one with cauliflower, puckered ear,
one with a purple-black hand reaching out of the water,
as if in hope to be rescued from drowning.

The thirty-six-weekers are not stored in glassware.
A perfect pair, girl and boy, are on separate cookie baking sheets,
wrapped in sterile pads, their swaddling blankets.
They are not desiccated, withered, mummified,
quick-frozen, frost-nipped, or sealed in wax.
They look like leatherette dolls in mid-kick stop-motion animation,
as if they’d only now stopped breathing.

Girl was a low birth weight,
vagina snapped as tightly shut as the seam of a walnut.
Boy is not the color of life, a rich-colored brown boy
bleached-out to plasticine-pale, dun-white.
Still, on his cheek-ear-hair, the almost feel of life.
The abdomen is caved in,
and the testicles are paper-thin, black, crumpled leaves.

Some in the grey jars were named and tagged on the wrist.
I was told that I cannot tell you the names.
It is a secret between the women
and these medical anomalies.
One is named for a hurricane.

The resto muertos have closed eyes and African features.
They were not colorfast,
so the chemicals have bleached them to albino.
The women, who came with gravid uterus to Puerto Rico
from the Virgin Islands, seeking to save or end pregnancies,
do not know that the small ones are still here
curled in their womb poses,
each blanched
in its lit-glass aquarium,
lolling in solvent tinted the color of beer, brandy, honey, oil, or perfume.

These small floating gods in primer paint, never to be besprinkled
with blessed water to help them cross over,
never to evaporate, dust-scatter, or waste — they are here and not here!
What is the shelf-life of the unborn?

In the Caribbean, women must travel
from island to island
to get needed health care,
and so these doodads
were not carried home but donated,
no one knows how long ago.

I have been invited here by a doctor who loves the arts,
and whom I like.
I was told beforehand only that I would be seeing human tissue.
He proposes collaboration, an artistic public exhibition
of these impossible children,
who will never utter “peacock,”
“confetti,” “crazy quilt,” “cashmere,” or “soap.”

Monster Midway. Gaff joints. Shell games. Sideshow piebald children.
Human oddities and the science of teratology.

At home, I whisper to the midnight page,
Women of the Virgin Islands, Sistren,
I saw them, and they are okay.
Your small ones are still on Earth!

Loretta Collins Klobah


Beethoven’s piano sonata no 29, “Hammerklavier”, revisited, as promised

upon listening to Beethoven’s 29th sonata
one doesn’t imagine its originality, having
been showered for centuries now with its
miracles and majesties, nothing would’ve
been heard like it before, so great a project,
a work of not only temporal magnitude, an
astonishing fifty minutes, but evidently of
more than just mere entertainment, a work
of philosophical, even, amplitude

Beethoven is not just trying to delight, he’s
trying to engage here, bring together, stir,
more profound human responses, evoke
thought, responsibility, compassion, a
spiritual complicity in the new
post-Revolutionary secular order, he is
establishing new metaphysical ground

the subject is existential, the audience
no longer merely aristocratic, masses
now were talking, an affluent bourgeoisie,
artists were responding to a new Romantic
Age, about rights, and what it means to be
human, both men and women, incidentally
– and I stress that newly pertinent at the time
conjunction – above and beyond those of
God, for each couldn’t both hold the
supreme, the earlier Classical, pinnacle,
the rights of Gods and, by extension,
Kings, Queens if you lived in England,

secularism was needing new oracles

see Elizabeth Barrett Browning, for
instance, for the emergence of

see also, of course, otherwise,

the difference with Beethoven is that
he achieved, ultimately, profound
wisdom, I can think of no other
comparable poet, save, of course,
Marcel Proust, both of whom proved
to be, in the same breath, philosophers,
able to stake that exalted claim, certainly
no painter, a difficult medium through
which to philosophize admittedly, to
bring logical and existential constructions
together to enunciate a transcendental

then again, before Proust and Beethoven,
who’d ‘a’ thunk one could’ve transformed
words or music into very grace, mystically
transubstantiated gold, notwithstanding
the misguided alchemists

Pink Floyd did some of that in the Seventies
but retreated into historic and more personal,
less oracular, reminiscences, philosophizing
isn’t easy, see the punishment of Prometheus,
or, for that matter, John Lennon

Beethoven was completely deaf by the time
he composed the Hammerklavier“, lost in
his own isolation, like Homer, blind to,
though obviously not unaware of, his art

not lost, not unaware either, more like
having been given extrasensory, outright
extraordinary, manifestly, perception

to our utter and everlasting, both of them,


Beethoven piano sonata no 29, the “Hammerklavier”

take a few minutes, well, nearly an hour,
to watch, imbibe, incorporate, integrate,
this video, to smell this miraculous
flower, Beethoven’s piano sonata no 29,
the monumental Hammerklavier“, the
equivalent, to my mind, of the Eiffel
Tower, the Coliseum, the Parthenon,
Homer’s Iliad“, I promise it will
transform you

I’ll talk about it later, I also promise


psst: you might need some Kleenex

Beethoven piano sonata no 28 in A major, opus 101

Erte - "The Angel"

The Angel



Beethoven’s piano sonata no 28, opus 101,
in A major
, is the first of what is considered
to be his late piano sonatas, as opposed to
early and middle, three entirely distinct
periods that are easily recognizable upon
closer listening, the early ones are bold,
even headstrong, with Beethoven’s ever
characteristic vigor and Promethean authority,
the length themselves of his early works are
a testament to his sense of his own great
personal validity, the first four, to my mind,
go on much longer than often enough they
should, a typically youthful presumption on
his part, and are musically at best trite, I find,
after their first expositions, the repeats come
as redundant, and tolerable merely, surprises,
even the famous 8th, the Pathétique“, opus 13,
is, I think, too brash and impudent, however in
this manner, nevertheless admittedly, entirely
effective, listen

the Pastorale“, of the middle period, opus 28,
no 15
, is where I deem the music to become
henceforward sublime, it has a settled
confidence that brims with not only technical
wizardry but with also positively enchanting
and entrancing musical ideas, bursting like
very flowers in springtime, with colour and
inspired, effervescent, imagination

the late period is where Beethoven becomes,
however, a sage, a prophet, and indeed a
hierarch in the new secular order of a
reconstituted Heaven, after all, someone
had to take the place of the now discredited
angels, Nietzsche called them Übermenschen,

the 28th sonata starts out slowly, or rather,
more slowly than the earlier forthright ones,
already a sign of less physical, more
measured and considered reponses, my
impression here is of a grandfather visiting
his granchildren, jovial but not too disportive,
merely jaunty, always cheery but for a moment
of haunting melancholy, at the adagio, before
becoming congenial and avuncular again,
with then a big, boastful ending, snapping
staunchly his patriarchal suspenders,
getting the last, and traditional, word, with
a firm, which is to say, a foursquare-major-
chord, finish, the aural equivalent of turning
out the lights

musically, however, the progressions are
exploratory, incremental, more and more
layered with possible, and often apparently
rejected outcomes, in order to try out
something more fitting, maybe, more
accurate, a deconstruction, in other words,
of musical ideas, an investigation, in search
of a viable musically cohesive path

in the 28th sonata Beethoven, I think, is
doodling, however, coming up with the
methods of his great addresses, the
language here is not yet philosophically
precise, a smattering merely of pianistically
plausible ideas, musical sketches, the first
stirrings here, you’ll gather, of formal jazz

in the next sonata, the 29th, the still
unsurpassed “Hammerklavier”, he writes
the definitive book, speaking for music in
the forthcoming history of the world, and
determining its future path, we are still
moving along on his transcendent carpet,
no one ‘s come along still to give us a
more assured ride, kind of like Homer,
some would say Shakespeare, others
Albert Einstein, other, incidentally,
post-Christian, post Revolutionary

who do you presently pray to, who are
your angels, who your Superwomen,
towards what do you aspire,
towards whom

Superwomen, -men, incidentally,
cultivate their own efflorescence,
manifest their own, I think, destinies,
or, if you like, their own Heaven

much as I believe angels also do

Mozart’s Fantasy in C minor on the
same program
shows him in a nearly
Beethovenian mode atavistically, much
more somber than he usually is, but he’s
nevertheless easily distinguished by
his much less intricate musical
accompaniment and his much more
rigorous melodic line, you’re more
likely to hum it

Mozart also composes from the nursery,
I find, the exhilaration of playful discovery,
you can see the toy soldiers, the golden
tresses on little milkmaids in dirndls with
red circles for cheeks

Mozart’s pieces are like nursery rhymes

Beethoven progresses to literature

before you judge me too harsh on Mozart,
by the way, consider that my favourite
piece of the two in this program is the
Mozart, it’s like comparing apples and
oranges, though, it depends on your
mood that day which you’ll favour



psst: just in case you missed it, this version
of the Pathétique is the best I’ve ever
heard, indeed, of all the pieces here
the most extraordinary, don’t miss it

Beethoven – “Pastorale” Sonata, no 15, opus 28‏

from the very beginning of this musical series I’ve
been wanting, looking forward to, highlighting
somewhere, somehow, this incandescent piece
by Beethoven, but hadn’t yet found either a
complete nor, more significantly, a worthy
interpretation, though one briefly came and
went in a blazing virtual, as it were, transit, that
would’ve been perfect, and may now be never 
seen again, o, vast, too vast, eternity   
here Konstantin Semilakovs, not even a finalist at
Competition last September, 2012, the competition
must’ve been severely tough, plays an enchanted
Beethoven is at the height of his euphoria here,
after his 7th sonata, his opus 10, no 3, he’d
followed through with his still resounding 8th, 
hisPathétique“, opus 13, through several
significant others to just before this one his
the Pastorale“, his opus 28 – “pastorale”,
incidentally, usually retains the German spelling,
for the feminine word in German “Sonate”, and
it is generally pronounced, with an enunciated
“e”, that way – is in all of music the piece I find
the most enchanting, I call it my “Johnny
Appleseed” sonata for its youth, freshness,
exhilaration, sense of adventure, infinite and
effervescent possibility, there isn’t a single
adagio here, note, just, at the very slowest,
an andante, a normal walk, there’s too much
wonder and fascination in the music to slow 
anything here down
you’ll note that Beethoven doesn’t too much
sway from the rigours of Classical structure,
the beat doesn’t significantly, nor even
infinitesimally much alter, though there are
some idiosyncratic Romantic liberties taken,
not an uncommon occurrence, by the interpreter,
fully redeemed however by his magical, meticulous 
nor does Beethoven touch tonality, we remain
always in the same key, each according to its
own movement
repetition is also there in spades, but you get
there only after he’s taken you through a veritable
rabbit hole, like Alice, and you don’t even know
where you are, where you started, but there you
are again suddenly, to your enchanted wonder,
but already he’s starting you up again for another
apparently iteration, o joy, o even ecstasy  
note intimations of Prokofiev already a century
earlier in the third movement, the sprightly
scherzo (allegro assai)”, note the eccentricity
of the syncopation, already the future is here,
spreading its nascent but fully burgeoning
wings into even our very own 21st Century,
decisively, we will not hang Beethoven out
to dry, that’d be like losing Shakespeare
the elements of Classicism, to summarize, 
remain strong with Beethoven, even essential
to his conception of music, the profound
difference is with the impact of the piano,
soft, loud, the hold petal, his use of volume,
his use of, from solemn to effervescent, pace 
with these opportune tools he changed the
face of music, channeling through them his
profound, his supremely inspired, genius,
becoming along the way and incontestibly
the Homer, the highest priest and most
revered elder, of Western music, to this very
day unchallenged, still not outshone, nor
even ever yet matched, just listen 
psst: you might want to compare this Beethoven  
           with Schubert’s  “Wanderer” Fantasy, for
           their itinerary spirit