Category Archives: Music

The total moment of the perfect melody

When all else fails, there’s still a Schubert melody. Melodies sound like total moments which float freely, unchained, outside the regular course of time.  Adorno explains:  “The concept of melody first gained ascendancy in the nineteenth century in connection with … Continue reading

Posted in Friends, Listening, Melancholy, Music | Tagged

Listening to a mazurka by Chopin

Here is a tremendous instance of the birth of the lyrical subject in the 19th century. Listening to this early mazurka, you feel you are listening to something coming forth tentatively from your deepest self, not from an outside source.  … Continue reading

Posted in Listening, Piano | Tagged ,

The 1849 Dresden Uprising (Travels in revolutionary Mitteleuropa, from the Rhine to the Danube/7)

Standing on the viewing platform of the exterior dome (the famous “stone bell”) of the restored Frauenkirche, I walked around, admiring the winding river Elbe and the Augustusbrücke, the oldest of its Dresden bridges. Yet I focused on the area … Continue reading

Posted in Music, Revolt, Revolution | Tagged , ,

The 1819 Dresden Conspiracy (Travels in revolutionary Mitteleuropa, from the Rhine to the Danube/2)

I went for the first time to Germany last month with a specific purpose: To walk in the footsteps of revolutionary friends in Dresden, such as the comrades in this painting. “Two Men Contemplating the Moon” by Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840), … Continue reading

Posted in Attunement, Collaboration, Friends, Listening, Revolution | Tagged

An elegy for the Jewish cultivation of Hellenic self

The enchanting movie Call me by your name (2017) pays a melancholic tribute to a major project of Protestant modernity, the Jewish self-forming engagement with aesthetic Hellenism. The movie, based on André Aciman’s Künstlerromanby the same name (2007), deals with the … Continue reading

Posted in Classical Music, Culture, Hellenism, Literature, Melancholy, The "Greeks"

Autumn songs

Fall is a season while Autumn is a modality of the world.  Autumn is the world we are attuned to when our feelings as a subject and the elements of the Fall converge.  If a Heideggerian mood is “an engaged … Continue reading

Posted in Classical Music

Networks of civic friendship

It is remarkable to see affective bonds and civic practices of friendship invoked in several discussions of resistance to globalization, colonialism, and normativity. Reflecting on possible lessons from recent democratic failures in Greece, Britain, and the U.S., classicist Johanna Hanink notes:  … Continue reading

Posted in Collaboration, Friends, Left, Music, The Common