Notes from the Fine Arts Front

Well, in the light of the fact that it’s been touted that “conservatives” have abandoned their defense of high culture. I’ll freely admit that I have not. Friday night my beloved, the inestimable Mrs Pseudo-Polymath, and I attended the CSO for a concert conducted by Bernard Haitink. I was surprised this year, for I don’t recall Mr Haitink having such trouble getting around. He used a cane to assist his walking and stood/sat/leaned on a edge of an elevated chair while conducting. I have to admit his mastery of the orchestra and his use of subtle controlled gesture to get his meaning across was a wonder to behold.

Three peices were performed, none of which I’d ever heard earlier. They were Max Webern’s Im Sommerwind (In the Summer Wind), Gustov Mahler’s Ruckert Lieder, and Franz Schuberts 9th Symphony (the Great). I’d like to offer a few remarks on the short Mahler songs. They were five Ruckert poems set to music sung by Mezzo Soprano Christianne Stotijn. Ms Stotijn sang beautifully, and my only critique might be that I thought she needed sing a little more strongly to counterbalance the orchestra better. Of these poems, the fourth was a simple love poem which Mahler dedicated to his new bride. It is simple but poignant.

Liebst du um Schonheit (If you love for beauty)
(translation from program notes)

If you love for beauty,
then do not love me!
Love the sun,
for he has golden hair.

If you love for youth,
then do not love me!
Love the spring,
which is young every year.

If you love for money,
then do not love me!
Love a mermaid,
for she has many find pearls.

If you love for love,
then yes, do love me!
Love me forever,
I’ll love you evermore.

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