Thursday, July 15, 2010
I hope I remember this summer in part as the summer I discovered Carson McCullers. The best place to read is on the elliptical at the gym. I'll bet you thought I was going to say some place else but I'm trying to have taste in my dotage. Occasionally I get backed up (!) with books. McCullers's "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" beckoned to me from the library shelf last weak. The gym can be noisy but this prose blocks out all extraneous noise. The book was written when McCullers was 23-she was dead at 50. It's about loneliness and so far, about hope. It's beautiful, rich language. The one image I hope I will never forget is of the young girl walking all through the neighborhood looking for a house with a radio, so she can sit outside and listen to music through the open windows. Then she goes home and in her head works and works to put together a Beethoven symphony in her mind. She knows its wonderful. She doesn't know music and she doesn't know Beethoven but she knows wonderful when she hears it.
Today's mail brought the galleys of Norman Lebrecht's new book "Why Mahler? How One Man and His Symphonies Changed the World". CHANGED THE WORLD? Good on Norman for making that argument. I'm a Lebrecht fan, through his other books and his blog, called 'Slipped Disc' This is Mahler's 150th birthday year. I'm trying to listen to a symphony a day. In eight days I've managed the first four-five and a half more to go. Then the song cycles. I do this dutifully, and remember to love or at least admire them along the way. I feel a tad guilty in not writing about Mahler on our classical music blog (http://www.wosu.org/blogs/classical) The book is staring up at me indignantly from the floor-the cds are spilling all over my desk. And me? I'm writing about Terence McNally and "Master Class" and listening to' Evita'. God. I thought I was getting better!
More Mahler later. Stay tuned!