Saturday, 21 November 2015

Mahler 2 in context : Casadesus live broadcast

The Orchestre National de Lille marked its 40th anniversary yesterday, which was broadcast live on arte tv (available for a month).  But the events in Paris, in Mali, in Beirut, in the whole world overshadow all else.  Jean-Claude Casadesus stands before his orchestra and addresses the audience. "We are united in our thoughts and hearts", he says as he dedicates the concert to the memory of those whose lives have been destroyed.  And why Mahler's Second at this time?  It deals with death, made poignant by memories of past happiness. But there are things more powerful than death."Sterben werd' ich, um zu leben!",

It's not the finest perfomance ever but it's certainly  not the worst. I got a lot out of it. Why do listeners need  to rush to extremes?  Music does not exist for the edification of any one individual.  For a while I've been thinking a lot about the causes of extremism in all its forms. It's not ideology or religion per se.

Extremism attracts those who don't have a coherent idea of what they're  attacking, as long as they're part of a mob where "consensus"  affords unquestioning self righteousness. Blowing up Palmyra proves what? God allowed the ruins to stand. So extremists are greater than God?  So often extremists are narcissists, seething with resentment at anyone more talented, lucky or just plain different from themselves. If the world should exist in one's own image, it's OK to destroy what doesn't fit? Thank God, or whoever, that music is too complex  too subtle for those with closed minds to fully comprehend.

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