Last night, after listening for a solid week to their new powerful ‘complete string quartet’ Zemlinsky CD, I attended a concert by the great Brodsky Quartet at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester, as they vivaciously stood around the cellist, in front of effectively severe acoustic panels…. & Zemlinsky, through his transcendent fourth quartet, came alive and hovered above their heads. Berg eat your heart out.
More from me later after this Wow! effect has worn off.
They also memorably performed with internal commands in its last movement, the Death and the Maiden quartet by Schubert. I do, however, prefer his D804 and D887 quartets.
And an early op 18 Beethoven. Vivacious in a different way.
I have just received my purchased copy of ORFEO by Richard Powers
Atlantic Books 2014
This sounds as if it should serendipitously resonate with my very recent reading of ‘Doctor Faustus’ by Thomas Mann and my editorship-publication in 2012 of a multi-authored anthology book of Classical Music Horror Stories…
….by Colin Insole
Is now being republished: see here: http://nullimmortalis.wordpress.com/2013/11/10/colin-insole-elegies-and-requiems/
Colin Insole’s “The Appassionata Variations,” like his story for The Horror Anthology of Horror Anthologies, conjures up a world of Gothic cruelty, but the prose here is much stronger, creating an atmosphere of decadent corruption that is, in and of itself, sufficient reason to recommend the story to audiences who value such things.
“That section, like so many others in the sonatas, holds the mirror up to the blackness and emptiness within them. You play these pieces at your peril.” So says the piano tutor in Colin Insole’s “The Appassionata Variations”: a rich, moody reminiscence about music lessons during the war. This is evocative storytelling that reads like a classic and has plenty of gothic shivers in store.
I also eagerly anticipated Colin Insole’s ‘The Appassionata Variations’ as his ‘The Apoplexy of Beelzebub’ was such a highlight of ‘The HA of HA’ and it didn’t disappoint. A pianist recalls the sinister Absolom Street where he took piano lessons with Miss Amelia Loten during the Second World War under the shadows of the brooding Hotel Promethean.
‘The Appassionata Variations’ is set in a strange world where Mr Hoffman is the Beethoven virtuoso at the Hotel Promethean, the story told from the viewpoint of one who might be his illegitimate offspring, with matters of music and paternity interweaving, Insole’s writing assured and the composition as a whole unsettlingly off kilter. — Black Static
EDIT: 23.11.13: my own review of this story in comments below.