Friday, April 8, 2016

The Great Artist , Numbers, Great Attainments - What a Melange!...

The other day, numbers  connected with Man's first encounter with the tiny planet   Pluto crossed my path, and those numbers positively staggered me:
The space journey of the vehicle took nine and a half years, reaching the realm of Pluto last summer. For those nine and a half years, the speed averaged around 35,000 miles per hour and completed its journey some ninety seven seconds before schedule. Some of the photos taken of   Pluto were within 8000 miles  of the Solar System's furthest known planet.
Shortly after a period of shaking my head in reaction to this attainment, I began to assemble other numbers that  are products of where the powers of the mind can take us from time to time.
Some of these numbers I have used in previous blogs, and others are  new, which I thought might add to and enhance the world of wonder; in this particular blog, the Artist:
How about Anthony (Antoon) Van Dyke, the great Flemish artist? There are some early works, done around age ten, that tell us of his immense gift. He had become one of Europe's most sought-after portraitists before reaching age 20.
What about Giovanni Pergolesi, the early writer of Opera Buffa (comic opera), who was the most important progenitor  of this form of vocal art? He died at age 26.
What of Handel's experience with his "Messiah?" The 259 pages which were required to house this immortal work came into being in only about 24 days, with a sensationally small number of errors so noted by the composer upon first perusal after completion.
Mozart's last three symphonies having been written in about nine weeks, as I had recently noted in another blog, should not be overlooked. This miracle in the shape of a child wrote his first symphony at age 8 or 9, with his first oratorio about 3 years later.
And Mendelssohn had already written a couple of short  'sonatas' at age 10. Seven years later he gave us  "Midsummer  Night's  Dream" after reading Shakespeare . Isn't it rather revealing that Grove himself wrote of this work by a teenager as"the greatest marvel of early maturity that the world has ever seen in music" - and this statement  AFTER Mozart?
Franz Schubert - over 1500 works that we know of ; more than 600 works alone for voice and piano; 6 masses; 17 operas that we know of... dead at age 31.
Domenico Scarlatti -  About 550 Sonatas (he named them 'exercises'), which he began submitting  to paper in 1738(age, 53...)
Alan Hovhaness wrote about 43 symphonies AFTER age 60. His catalog  of symphonies gives  numbers of 67-70. We know of some 500 works by this 20th century composer.
Finally; for now, a statement made by the most demanding musician known to me; specifically Arturo Toscanini, who almost never  spoke of any musician as he spoke of Guido Cantelli, whose promise as a conductor was shattered by his being killed in a plane crash:
"This is the first time in my long life that I have met a young man  so gifted."
Toscanini was never told about the death of this young man, whom he loved.
Thought that I should share with you the attainment levels and sentiments of some of the giants among us, each of whom made the kind of journey that parallels  the miracle of  last summer's  journey to a place  that averages out to some three billion miles from the sun.
Some years ago, scientists hurled a time capsule into space - included in its contents is  some Bach played by Glenn Gould -  where, at this moment, is the capsule? Will Gould's  message be heard? And, if so, will we ever receive acknowledgement of the event?

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