Wolfwig Beethart (1770-1806), famous for his 3rd Symphony
Like many people who love Mozart’s music I have often wondered what he would have given us if he had not died before he was 36. Even if he had lived just one more year, there is no telling what he might have produced, given that his last three symphonies – 39,40 and 41 – were composed in the space of three months.
And, since none of us has Mozart’s genius, it is completely impossible to know what he would have gone on to do ten or twenty years later if his life had been of a normal length.
One way of getting some idea of the scope of what he might have produced, I think, is to look at someone equivalent, Beethoven say, and see what they would not have composed if they had died at 36. Read more…
(A poem with instructions on how to cook memories)
(Listen to the poem here)
Start with the and.
Select a photograph of someone you have
lost or crossed,
shared days then parted ways with
and watch it softly
(think of a gaze on tip-toes),
five minutes for each side,
first at the picture, then
at the picture gone,
turning slowly, clockwise,
like time itself
until you have
a good emulsion in your mind.
I can’t say I ever appreciated starlings much before I discovered that Mozart kept one as a pet for three years. My impression of starlings was formed by the experience of having multitudes of them descend on Rome in autumn behaving like a million drunken football fans.
Their formation flying is pretty impressive, you can’t deny that. They soar up high in the sky and fill it like an aerobatics team with a thousand jets . They expand, contract, make sharp turns, ascend, descend, branch out, regroup. You can’t predict what they will do. It resembles a frenzied motor-driven kaleidoscope with just one colour: black.
The problem is when they come down and settle on a couple of trees. Settle is the wrong word. The collective noun for starlings is a “murmuration” but whoever invented that was deaf or was in bed, half-drunk, with a cushion on his head and the starlings were five miles away when he heard them. I would suggest “obstreperation”, “altercation”, “stridulation” or “riotation”. They don’t settle on trees, there are always countless numbers swarming around them in a state of great excitement shrieking and shitting on everything. I have always wondered whether they are shitting because they are excited or whether they are excited because they are shitting. Read more…