Monday, January 19, 2015

Amazement That Can Only Be Imagined

I don't care what anybody says, I really enjoy that old "Symphonie fantastique." I guess it's one of the warhorses I like to complain about, but guess what? I'm a hypocrite. I like how the theme of the piece is - and allow me to paraphrase wildly - "Gee, why can't I get that girl to like me? They'll all be sorry when I'm dead! What if they cut my head off? Some witches will probably dance on my grave!" When I was a boy I read somewhere, "Berlioz says nothing in his music, but he says it so beautifully." I thought it was probably in my MILTON CROSS' ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT COMPOSERS AND THEIR MUSIC, because you remember how Milton Cross loves to pour salt in composers' wounds. But I just leafed through and couldn't find it. On the "internet" I see it attributed to James Huneker. When I was a kid I was probably like, "Ouch! Zing! Take that!" But today I think James Huneker just sounds like a big smart aleck. Meanwhile, the MILTON CROSS makes Berlioz sound like Charlie Brown: "As a boy of twelve Berlioz fell in love with a girl six years his senior, carrying on in a way to amuse his neighbors and embarrass the innocent object of his adoration... Berlioz was to see her only once in the next fifty years... Now a white-haired woman of sixty-five, the mother of four grown children, she was to hear from Berlioz' lips - and with amazement that can only be imagined - that she had been the only love of his life."