Friday, August 08, 2008

'The music of true forgiveness'

My literary goddaughter, a sometime soloist in her university choir, will turn 21 shortly and my gift to her (as soon as I've picked it up from BASS) is a ticket to accompany me to the opera in November; I offered her the choice between Rigoletto and The Marriage of Figaro, which starts here on August 30, and after deliberation she chose Rigoletto, as I was rather hoping she would.

But in the meantime I think I'm going to have to go to The Marriage of Figaro as well. Because I've never heard the transcendent 'Ah tutti contenti' sung live on the stage, and there's always the chance that one will be run over by a bus before one gets to do things one has always wanted to do. (Should that in fact happen, I hope I'll be hearing this in my head as I lie bleeding in the road.) The music at this point just is not separable from the Shakespearean quality of the drama; as Salieri says in Amadeus, 'Ah tutti contenti' is 'the music of true forgiveness'.

Music, 'whose manifestation is a displacement of air' (Helen Garner), is demonstrably a matter of maths and physics. But I once had a conversation with a hotshot young plastic surgeon on duty in Casualty at the Royal Melbourne, while he was sewing the tip of my left index finger back on after I'd cut it completely off with a vegetable knife the morning after Bob Hawke won the drover's dog election and it (the finger not the election) had been saved only by the quick thinking and take-charge good sense of the man I was living with at the time, about whether the Art/Science divide, by which our respective educations had been brutally shaped at fifteen, was in fact a false dichotomy. We agreed that it was, and that Mozart is the proof.

Serendipitously, here's a bit that made me smile from a novel I was reading this morning for work:

We talked about music, without which, we agreed, life would not be worth living ... He was composing his first mass, for four voices. On a theological note, he observed that some people had been inspired to believe in God by the simple fact that Mozart had been in the world. And he was convinced that Van Morrison was in direct communication ("unmediated communion") with the divine.

Anyway. Here, so.


Mozart - Le Nozze Di Figaro - Ah Tutti Contenti via Noolmusic.com

12 comments:

ocky said...

Well, that made me go all weepy (in a good way) but I still don't believe in god. I get the same feeling about transcendence, lately, listening to Lorraine Hunt Lieberson or Arvo Part. Music is truly indispensable, the physics of the soul. It is still 'us', still material, but perhaps a better aspect of matter.

And Van Morrison is certainly in communion with something, but I don't know if it's divine. Maybe one of Tom Wait's dirty angels.

Thanks for the post.

Amanda said...

And he was convinced that Van Morrison was in direct communication ("unmediated communion") with the divine.

So thre Scientologiss are right? Bugger!!

Pavlov's Cat said...

I never knew Van was a Scientologist! Jeez, for a minute there I was like all weepy-byes nearly.

But then (if Google is indeed our friend) he lapsed.

Praise the Lord, eh?

Amanda said...

Heh yeah. It's only been 20 years or so but I couldn't resist.

Francis Xavier Holden said...

I don't believe Van is in touch with above. In fact I don't think he has been, but I do think he's been close at times and at is at his best when seeking that transcendent abandonment and crossing over into glossalia for at least a few fleeting minutes.

amanda - naughty - he briefly looked into $cientology for a while but it never stuck. His mother was a Jehovah Witness (Listen to Kingdom Hall)and hes certainly explored a lot of Celtic Mysticism amongst other "searchers" structures.

His best works can take you close without a lot of effort. Hyndford Street from Hymns to the Silence, an underated album, or In the Days Before Rock 'n' Roll from - Enlightenment, showcase his ability to combine the sublime with the everyday in a mix of music, words and talking in tongues that at times can rival Yeats for dreamtime mists.

Amanda said...

fxh, you and cs ganged up on me to get more Van one time. So I relented and the one I got was dedicated to L.Ron. I stand by my snark!

Transcendental abandonment - yawn. Now, if we're talkin' Sister Rosetta Tharp ... I can get on board with that.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Surely it's not either/or, though!

Amanda said...

Probably not. I admit my comments have been exclusively FXH baiting. I hope you don't feel used, PC.

Pavlov's Cat said...

No, no, not at all. And even if I did, I can assure you it wouldn't be the first time.

*assumes put-upon expression*

Deborah said...

And the finger tip is still attached? It works? (As much as finger tips do work, that is.)

Pavlov's Cat said...

Yes! Luckily quite a lot of the bit I amputated was a guitar-playing callous, in fact my first thought as I looked at the bit of fingertip sitting there on the knife blade was 'Oh God, I'll never play the guitar again!'. But it did need to be grafted back on -- you can still see the join if you look hard, and the nail is a bit strange.

Francis Xavier Holden said...

ganged up! ganged up? - older wiser heads graciously tried to give you the benefit of years of .......