Thursday, July 10, 2008

10th July
I stayed in tonight to listen to mahler's 8th coming live from St. Paul's.
This so-called Symphony of a Thousand is what i remember listening to, night after night, in the weeks immediately after Susie's death.
I bought it because the second movement is mahler's massive attempt to set to music the very end of Goethe's Faust part Two; and my rationale was that i wanted to listen to it to get into tune with it so I could dramatise it.
But I think really what i wanted was to use its massive sound to drown out the massive grief and rage in my poor tormented heart.
It's strange to think of it, but the hugely noisy first movement must have sent me to sleep, night after night, down in my daughters' room because I simply couldn't bear to be in the room where we had spent so much happy time together.
Certainly it was far more familiar to me than the second movement, which is what i was ostensibly supposed to be hearing.
Strangely, it left me quite cold tonight.
The music is, I'm sure, magnificent; but I found myself thinking of the rather cruel image in Steppenwolf where Hesse imagines Mahler crossing a dreary plain pulling behind him the huge huge sack of all the superfluous notes in his symphonies; and thinking, what Goethe wrote is all very well, but dramatically, at least, what i wrote in my Faust Part Two is ever so much better.

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