Who Can Tell

The old folk say in the bleakest of times, "Who can tell what good shall come of it." I am thankful to the Bach family, their cantata singers are giving voice to the melancholy I face: how can so much work possibly be done up to standard in so little time, by someone as unpracticed as I? But the harpsichord floats forward, and suddenly, it is a new moment. Little silences open up between instrument and voice; that is the empty space where I reflect on recent failures. Like saying any old thing when under attack, jumping in, instead of letting people wear themselves out. Saying any old thing! What a shame for an adult. But there are other things, other things, too. At least, one lets go of what others do. One is in the concert hall in one's mind, and it is only the music and whoever is listening, together focused on the notes. Solitude; so much of life is inside it, and sometimes I long so much for help, just any help, someone to read over my work one more time, or permit me to go to sleep when I am tired. But the old folk have a saying.
In these few minutes that I have sat before this screen, I read up on the Bach family, who worked with concerted effort over the generations to truly become a musical family, eventually an overall educated one when social advancement through better venues for their music (at court) allowed the sons to get a university education. I am never bored by imagining the university education as something to be prized and striven for; what is more, J. S. Bach's eponymous grandson studied with a friend of Goethe's who taught Goethe drawing and was himself an esteemed artist, Adam F. Oeser, further illustrating the very long line drawn by education. The latter was a friend of Winckelmann, and suddenly we are in the Enlightenment, hobnobbing with Leibniz and prancing off to the Leibniz book fair that rivaled the one in Frankfurt (via). The text linked to, by Prof. Koch, explains the ubiquity of the Winckelmann legacy in terms of the neoclassical motifs adopted by architects, and the china purchased by the middle class. But Winckelmann's platitude was that we may become great by imitating the ancients, stipulating, "what is imitated, if handled with reason, may assume another nature, as it were, and become one's own."
To handle with reason; this is the Delphic charioteer, no? Handling the reigns with reason, euphoria tamed on his face. Likewise, difficulty is to be borne with such restraint. There is also the promise that if one endures, one could become one's own, which I suspect has to do with allowing some failure by looking at the sculpture as a whole, or what Benjamin calls Winckelmann's "will to symbolic totality" which is available to the modern man who has no recourse to observing nature directly through the mediation of the archetype; man is invited to fill in the empty spaces where the ideal is not immediately present, when reality falls short. "Who can tell what good shall come of it."

Brush: Ewansim tape at DeviantART.

No comments:

Post a Comment