Some possibly unwritten books I want to read
I’ve been reading a lot lately, and mostly it has been a disappointment — and how can it not be, generally. I won’t mention the books (no point hurting you by showing you my wounds), but how I wish I could read well-written books by intelligent/not-ideologically-minded persons from time to time.
And how about — on these topics:
1. The Haydn-Mozart quartets. Something not musicological. Something about Mozart as a person, Haydn as a person, their professional lives, their aspirations, their friendship, the new art form of the string quarter (Goethe: “Four intelligent people talking together”), and what it was like for Haydn and Mozart to develop this new art-form; how they struggled as men, lovers, husbands, professionals and yet, in another dimension altogether, how their life had another deeper, secret meaning, appreciated only by those in the know: that of a composer who broke new ground, developed new ideas, presented and solved new problems; and how their takes on the string quartet reveal their personalities; and how Mozart’s Nos. 15-19 respond to Haydn’s op. 20 and how Haydn’s op. 33 in turn respond to Mozart’s. I have been listening to them now these 3 years and forever find much surprising depth in them — intelligence, wit, polish, yes, but also so much intricate, innovative thinking; just take op. 20 no. 4 1st movement with the shocking arpeggio and all its false reprises, how very odd, how very special.
(Btw, if you are just beginning in the field, then the recordings to listen to are: Haydn’s op. 20 – by the Lindsays; Mozart’s 15-19 — by Aban Berg; and Haydn’s op. 33 — by The Borodin).
2. The Paris 1900 World Expo. The largest, the most ruinous, and therefore the last of the world expos; ended in a spectacular bankruptcy; featured grand palaces by all major nations of the world built in a kind of Potemkin Village material; a human zoo; Japanese pavillion with geishas; a two-speed moving sidewalk which circum-ambulated the place; and the Balinese dance troupe which Rodin was unable to draw (like he was unable to draw/sculpt everything else) and — what that troupe’s success tells us about high brow art (that it’s does not rise from the folk art, it is not particular to a culture but — to a kind of brain — to some of us, the unlucky few who have drawn it as their birth lottery-ticket; and how for us it is universal, undivided by languages and borders). And the first showcasing of Art Nouveau, too.
If you can suggest titles – could be in other languages, shout. If no one can, perhaps someone could write these books, please?