Category Archives: Classical Music

Listening to music as a skill

What if listening to music is a skill, like playing it?  For example, listening to these pieces for ruined pianos arguably requires a skill. In her book Intelligent Virtue (2012), philosopher Julia Annas, an authority in Greek ethics, draws on “the … Continue reading

Posted in Classical Music, Listening, Piano

Mahler’s melancholic marches

While attending recently a performance of Mahler’s 6th, and comparing the driving march that launches the opening Allegro energico to the heroic march launching the Finale (here 51:10), I started going through the composer’s symphonies until I suddenly realized that this genre appears … Continue reading

Posted in Classical Music, Culture, Melancholy | Tagged

Werther’s lyric performance of a bardic self

The devastating aria “Pourquoi me réveiller?” in Massenet’s drame lyrique Werther (1892) portrays a poet (Werther) singing the poem of a poet (Ossian) singing (in a contest of poets). But things are even more complicated.  “Within the opera and without, the poem is … Continue reading

Posted in Classical Music, Literature, Melancholy | Tagged , ,

Heroic civic friendship

It comes as a surprise to see an entire act of Gluck’s Iphigenia in Tauris (1779) devoted to the magnanimous dispute between Orestes and Pylades about who is more committed to their friendship. While the plot is hardly advanced, we watch … Continue reading

Posted in Classical Music, Friends, Revolt | 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

The listening self

Musicians do not play an instrument.  They are using instruments to play their body.  They resonate instruments in the echo chamber of their reverberating body. In attending or watching live performances, I have learned to listen not to the interpretation, … Continue reading

Posted in Attunement, Classical Music, Collaboration, Friends, Listening