Wednesday, 30 May 2012


Struggling along with musical things.

I've previously transcribed a small section of Beethoven's Heiliger Dankgesang, which as you probably already know was put to great use by Keiller in 'London'.

But Keiller also used Brahm's Alto Rhapsody in the film, indeed, it's the very first piece of music one encounters in the film, staring across from London Bridge towards Tower Bridge, with the Celine-baiting "It is a journey to the end of the world" as the opening line. Music for Keiller frequently seems to be used with very specific meanings, the 'convalesence' of the Beethoven presumably corresponding to the cure for the 'malady' of London (as well as the script's specific reference to convalescence when Robinson first comes back out after the Tory victory), while one can draw parallels between Robinson in Space's analytical study of the aesthetics of British capitalism and the desperate job-seeker music from Kuhle Wampe.
And then the Alto Rhapsody crops up again in Keiller's exhibition at the Tate (which I CANNOT RECOMMEND ENOUGH), with a pair of headphones allowing you to listen to Kathleen Ferrier singing Goethe's tale of peripatetic woe while also looking at an image of the lichen which may or may not be a silhouette of the great German polymath.
As you can imagine, it was buzzing around in my head for a while, so I thought that I'd try to get a little bit of it down, so here are the first few bars or so. One could probably keep going but there is never enough time...

And then Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau died. As someone said, perhaps the very last 'great' voice that there will be. One shouldn't be too sad - he lifted the hearts of millions and lived to a very grand old age, but I felt moved enough to quickly bash out a little Schubert song - 'An die Musik', with the final line "Du holde Kunst, Ich danke dir dafür!"

And also a little sketch I made using the sound of people milling about and drinking outside my flat, with a quasi-late romantic dressing. I'm not sure where something like this leads to, but perhaps it's the beginnings of an attempt to understand the difference between the quotidian and the romantic, with particular regard to the different poles of artistic satisfaction and metaphysical dread. Or something.

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