Asselineau, lying asleep. The wife of a bookseller, opening the shutters at his windows and sitting on the edge of his bed, says: ‘Ah, what a day! What a beautiful day to go to the country.’ Asselineau, stretching himself while the sun’s rays tickle his face, replies: ‘The country? The country! I haven’t a sou.’ The bookseller’s wife answers: ‘Not a sou? Come, come! What about all these little books here? Aren’t they money? Money you can have whenever you please? How much do you want for this?’ And she reaches up above her head and pulls down, with both her hands, a whole row of books. ‘The devil!’ shouts Asselineau. ‘My books! My darling books! Will you get out of here, you pest!’ ‘Tell me,’ the woman says with a confident smile, ‘how much? You shall have whatever you ask.’ Looking out at the blue sky, Asselineau hazards a figure without thinking. The woman bends very close to him, murmurs, ‘You are not very reasonable,’ and persuades him so tenderly that finally he accepts the price she offers him. And she carries the books off to her husband and comes back with the money—which she and Asselineau spent on a day in the country.
The Goncourt Journals (August 1856)
Wilhelm Kempff - 2 Légendes, S. 175: No. 2 - St François de Paule: marchant sur les flots
66 plays

Liszt, Two Legends, S.175 (1863), No. 2: St. Francis of Paola Walking on the Waves

Wilhelm Kempff, piano (1950)

Cherubini, Chant sur la mort de Joseph Haydn (1805)

1. Introduction
2. Recitativo. Amans des nobles Sœurs - 8:42

Martyn Hill, tenor

Cappella Coloniensis / Gabriele Farro (2009)

[x] Part 2

When Rossini heard Meyerbeer’s nephew’s death march for his uncle, he said: ‘It’s good, but don’t you think it’d be better if you were dead and he wrote your funeral march?’ And that’s how I feel about most funeral dirges, death marches, etc. What can a gravestone say, a melody? An epigraph, elegiac: Stay. (Or, if not, then Go.) But this cantata may be one of the best from one composer to another. 

In 1804 a London magazine caught a whisper going around that Haydn was dead. The news passed through Europe, and the French Masonic lodge (Haydn was a mason) commissioned a funeral cantata from Cherubini. Sometime in early 1805, after learning that Haydn wasn’t dead yet, Cherubini shelved the piece, this great ‘Chant sur la mort de Joseph Haydn,’ and had all printed copies destroyed. He brought it out again in 1809 or ‘10, after the day had really passed. 

I climb down to the shore and talk to the fishermen, while the sea grinds and rattles at the smooth black pebbles. The sea in these parts is full of strange fish, all beautiful in their way, all created perfectly after their own needs, and for that reason admirable, even when they are the product of terror. I have stopped finding fault with creation and have learned to accept it. We have some power in us that knows its own ends. It is that that drives us on to what we must finally become. We have only to conceive of the possibility and somehow the spirit works in us to make it actual. This is the true meaning of transformation. This is the real metamorphosis. Our further selves are contained within us, as the leaves and blossoms are in the tree. We have only to find the spring and release it. Such changes are slow beyond imagination. They take generations. But it works, this process. We are already the process of generation after generation of wishing to be thus. And what you are, reader, is what we have wished.
David Malouf, An Imaginary Life (1978), II
Bergman on Bergman, 210-11
Jonas Sima. In Persona you have Alma say, 'I've a tremendous admiration for artists, and I think art has a tremendous value in life, particularly to people who are in difficulties.' The artist as therapist, quite simply. Are you just being scornful here? Or do you mean our view of art should really be as utilitarian as that?
Bergman. I'm joking. But that's just the sort of thing one hears. Where one feels most touched, and gets most furious, is when one hears people, decent people, who go toddling off to the theater and fill the concert halls and go to evening classes, say, 'I've an enormous respect for artists, and I love art, and I think art is terribly important to people who are suffering.' There they sit, patiently, patiently waiting to be edified. But the artists, with their enormous vanity, are much less interesting than the people who are sitting there waiting for them to edify them. I loathe the whole of this humble attitude toward artists, who really ought to be given a kick in the ass. Yes, one could say a lot about all this.
Stig Björkman. And Bibi says it so naively.
Bergman. Yes, she's quite bewitching.
Jonas Sima. But it's perfectly legitimate for the public, don't you think, to put art to therapeutic uses, if they want to?
Bergman. Legitimate, yes -- if they can, it's marvelous. Then Elisabet turns on a radio play -- no, she's done that earlier. And Bibi makes a contribution there, the horrible inflections of some star on the radio too; Bibi apes her tone of voice, then those terrible theatrical gestures, and Elisabet starts to laugh and gets all hysterical. It's exactly like when she plays Phaedra, when she suddenly hears herself -- 'What the hell do I sound like?' She sees her colleagues, their greasepainted faces -- 'What the devil are we really up to?' And then she thinks, There's no sense in saying anything. So I'll just keep my mouth shut...
Stig Björkman. The doctor says the same thing too.
Bergman. And it's completely unneurotic, that's what's so important about Elisabet. The silence she imposes on herself is unneurotic. It's a strong person's form of protest.
He shook his head and stared away from me across the waste. But for a moment he did not start. He looked round at me shyly, hesitated. ‘Au revoir,’ he said. I felt an odd stab of emotion. A sense of how we had galled each other and particularly how I must have galled him came to me. ‘Confound it,’ thought I, ‘we might have done better.’ I was on the point of asking him to shake hands—for that was how I felt just then—when he put his feet together and leaped away from me towards the north. He drifted through the air as a dead leaf would do, fell lightly and leaped again. I stood for a moment watching him, then faced westward reluctantly, pulled myself together, and, with something of the feeling of a man who leaps into icy water, selected a point and plunged forward to explore my solitary half of the moon world. I dropped rather clumsily among rocks, stood up and looked about me, clambered to a rocky slab and leaped again…When presently I looked for him he was hidden from my eyes, but the handkerchief showed out bravely on its headland, white in the blaze of the sun.
H.G. Wells, The First Men in the Moon (1901), XVII

Renoir, when talking about The Rules of the Game: “The awful thing about life is this: everyone has their reasons.”

And especially the insane, he might have added. Most great comedies end in a general disenchantment: the uncoupling of behavior or action from principle, and a realignment of terms, publicly, between person and person, and privately, within each one. The insane person not only has his reasons — he never changes them. (The least flexible person in R’s film — his pilot in love — was doomed from the get-go.)

For a playwright, or a film person, this is a great thing to remember. And Renoir was the filmmaker who probably understood it best. It’s generosity. Nothing more. 

Eleanor Steber, Blanche Thebom, Richard Tucker, Frank Guarrera, Lorenzo Alvary, Fritz Stiedry, Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera Association - I. I cannot bear it! / No. 9 Quintet: Be sure to write to me daily... [Fiordiligi, Dorabella, Ferrando, Guglielmo, Don Alfonso]
68 plays

Mozart, Così fan tutte (1790), Act I, No. 9 Quintet: ‘Be sure to write to me daily…’ (‘Di scrivermi ogni giorno…’)

Eleanor Steber, Fiordiligi
Blanche Thebom, Dorabella
Richard Tucker, Ferrando
Frank Guarrera, Guglielmo
Lorenzo Alvary, Don Alfonso

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra / Fritz Stiedry (1952)

The action of love is so powerful that the soul dissolves with desire, and yet it doesn’t know what to ask for since clearly it thinks that its God is with it. You will ask me: Well, if it knows this, what does it desire or what pains it? What greater good does it want? I don’t know. I do know that it seems this pain reaches to the soul’s very depths and that when He who wounds it draws out the arrow, it indeed seems in accord with the deep love the soul feels that God is drawing up these very depths after Him. I was thinking now that it’s as though from this fire enkindled in the brazier that is my God a spark leapt forth and so struck the soul that the flaming fire was felt by it. And since the spark was not enough to set the soul on fire, and the fire is so delightful, the soul is left with that pain; but the spark merely by touching the soul produces that effect. It seems to me this is the best comparison I have come up with. This delightful pain—and it is not pain—is not continuous, although sometimes it lasts a long while; at other times it goes away quickly. This depends on the way the Lord wishes to communicate it, for it is not something that can be procured in any human way. But even though it sometimes lasts for a long while, it comes and goes. To sum up, it is never permanent. For this reason it doesn’t set the soul on fire; but just as the fire is about to start, the spark goes out and the soul is left with the desire to suffer again that loving pain the spark causes. Here there is no reason to wonder whether the experience is brought on naturally or caused by melancholy, or whether it is some trick of the devil or some illusion. It is something that leaves clear understanding of how this activity comes from the place where the Lord, who is unchanging, dwells…Here all the senses and faculties remain free of any absorption, wondering what this could be, without hindering anything or being able, in my opinion, to increase or take away that delightful pain.
Teresa of Ávila, The Interior Castle, The Sixth Dwelling Places (II, 4-5)
Shelley wrote to William Godwin and they became friends. I am not Shelley and you are not Godwin and so I will only hope that sometime I may meet you face to face and perhaps shake hands with you. If I ever do it will be one of the greatest pleasures of my life. If you care to know who it is that writes you, my name is Abraham Stoker (Junior). My friends call me Bram. I live at 43 Harcourt St, Dublin. I am a clerk in the service of the Crown on a small salary. I am twenty-four years old. Have been champion at our athletic sports (Trinity College, Dublin) and have won about a dozen cups. I have also been President of the College Philosophical Society and an art and theatrical critic of a daily paper. I am six feet two inches high and twelve stone weight naked and used to be forty-one or forty-two inches round the chest. I am ugly but strong and determined and have a large bump over my eyebrows. I have a heavy jaw and a big mouth and thick lips — sensitive nostrils — a snubnose and straight hair. I am equal in temper and cool in disposition and have a large amount of self control and am naturally secretive to the world. I take a delight in letting people I don’t like — people of mean or cruel or sneaking or cowardly disposition — see the worst side of me. I have a large number of acquaintances and some five or six friends — all of which latter body care much for me. Now I have told you all I know about myself. I know you from your works and your photograph, and if I know anything about you I think you would like to know of the personal appearance of your correspondents. You are I know a keen physiognomist. I am a believer of the science myself and am in a humble way a practicer of it. I was not disappointed when I saw your photograph — your late one especially. The way I came to like you was this. A notice of your poems appeared some two years ago or more in the Temple Bar magazine. I glanced at it and took its dictum as final, and laughed at you among my friends. I say it to my own shame but not to my regret for it has taught me a lesson to last my life out — without ever having seen your poems. More than a year after I heard two men in College talking of you. One of them had your book (Rossetti’s edition) and was reading aloud some passages at which both laughed. They chose only those passages which are most foreign to British ears and made fun of them. Something struck me that I had judged you hastily. I took home the volume and read it far into the night. Since then I have to thank you for many happy hours, for I have read your poems with my door locked late at night, and I have read them on the seashore where I could look all round me and see no more sign of human life than the ships out at sea: and here I often found myself waking up from a reverie with the book lying open before me…But be assured of this, Walt Whitman — that a man of less than half your own age, reared a conservative in a conservative country, and who has always heard your name cried down by the great mass of people who mention it, here felt his heart leap towards you across the Atlantic and his soul swelling at the words or rather the thoughts.
Bram Stoker to Walt Whitman (18 February 1872)

Chris Marker, Sans Soleil (1983)

I can remember quite distinctly that from the very beginning I declared myself in favor of German opera; my choice was determined by the tremendous impression produced on me by the two figures of [Filippo] Sassaroli and Weber. The Italian male-soprano, a huge pot-bellied giant, horrified me with his high effeminate voice, his astonishing volubility, and his incessant screeching laughter. In spite of his boundless good-nature and amiability, particularly to my family, I took an uncanny dislike to him. On account of this dreadful person, the sound of Italian, either spoken or sung, seemed to my ears almost diabolical; and when, in consequence of my poor sister [Clara’s] misfortune, I heard them often talking about Italian intrigues and cabals, I conceived so strong a dislike for everything connected with this nation that even in much later years I used to feel myself carried away by an impulse of utter detestation and abhorrence. The less frequent visits of Weber, on the other hand, seemed to have produced upon me those first sympathetic impressions which I have never since lost. In contrast to Sassaroli’s repulsive figure, Weber’s really refined, delicate, and intellectual appearance excited my ecstatic admiration. His narrow face and finely-cut features, his vivacious though often half-closed eyes, captivated and thrilled me; whilst even the bad limp with which he walked, and which I often noticed from our high windows when the master was making his way home past our house from the fatiguing rehearsals, stamped the great musician in my imagination as an exceptional and almost superhuman being. When, as a boy of nine, my mother introduced me to him, and he asked me what I was going to be, whether I wanted perhaps to be a musician, my mother told him that, though I was indeed quite mad on Freischütz, yet she had as yet seen nothing in me which indicated any musical talent.
Wagner, My Life, Vol. I