Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Stamp of Genius In the World of Music, As Given Us In The Product...

Traditionally, when we ruminate on  the impact of genius as it appears in the arts, the core of thought  quite  often centers around the impact of the attainment levels of the artist being discussed; for example, it has been said that Mozart began writing music before he could write his name;  or,
Liszt began the development of his pyro-technique at the piano by the age of eleven or twelve;  or,
Gershwin alters the direction of history with his Rhapsody in Blue; and, so on...
I thought that it might be fun to mull over specific products  left by the genius being discussed, if for no reason other than to, perhaps, grasp a more lucid example of the significance of that attainment:
How about a chap named Pergolesi? This 18th century composer established, once and for all, comic opera, and became firmly established as a force in lyric opera, having created a language of his own, and,sadly, for such a tiny particle of Time. He passed away at age 26 - how many know of him today?
Let's consider the Brontes - we, of course,  know much about this family. "Jane Eyre" and "Wuthering Heights" come to mind, among other great novels written by members of the Bronte family.
Anne Bronte dies at age 29; Emily, at age 30. Such a tiny particle of Time...
What about John Keats, one of the great lyricists of his time? His poetry remains, for us, some of the most beautiful coming out of English Romanticism. He is taken from us at age 25...
Arguably the most powerful conductor of the twentieth century, with an orchestra; namely,  the fabled NBC Symphony Orchestra, created just for him. The level of his demands remains the source of conversation to this day. Arturo Toscanini remained tight-lipped about talents of his contemporaries; however, when Guido Cantelli entered his life, Toscanini spoke more highly about the brilliant promise of this young conductor, and took him under his wing. It is generally thought that only Cantelli could become the official Toscanini Successor.
But Cantelli died in a plane crash near Paris  at age  36 - Toscanini was never told about the tragedy...
Vincent Van Gogh - the world knows his name, of course.
But, to further gain an understanding of the level of genius given to a human, why not take a look at the juvenilia by this artist, at, from ages 10 through 17?   As  a lost young soul, beset by his desire to become an active force in religion and/or human welfare, he  was always painting. Do search for and look at what this kid could do before age twenty...
Jascha Heifetz is also well-known for his days as a child prodigy. For me, perhaps the most significant product he left  was   his performing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto at what  was, I think, his debut performance - at age  9...
Alexander Scriabin left his stamp when he moved from late Romanticism to Mysticism, all within forty-odd years. And his son, Julian, left four little preludes. For those of you who can detect stylistic differentiation in  music writing, but are not familiar with these pieces, take a look at them; then ask, how can a child of eleven  write music like this? It's almost as if Julian took up where his father left off- nothing like this is replicated in the history of the art.
And Julian died that year, at age 11, in a drowning accident...

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