Marx Brothers

A tribute to the comedy of the Marx Brothers. The original mirror scene from Duck Soup with Groucho an Harpo Marx, then the remake of it With Lucille Ball and Harpo Marx on I Love Lucy

"Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2" (Liszt) (beginning)
"On the Beach at Bali-Bali" (Al Sherman, Abner Silver and Jack Maskill)
"Prelude in C-Sharp Minor" (Rachmaninoff)

 

"Piano Sonata No. 15 in C major" (Mozart)
"Minuet in G major, WoO 10, No. 2" (Beethoven)

Franz Liszt on Chopin

Music was his language, the divine tongue through which he expressed a whole realm of sentiments that only the select few can appreciate… The muse of his homeland dictates his songs, and the anguished cries of Poland lend to his art a mysterious, indefinable poetry which, for all those who have truly experienced it, cannot be compared to anything else… The piano alone was not sufficient to reveal all that lies within him. In short he is a most remarkable individual who commands our highest degree of devotion.

Muss es sein? Es muss sein! Es muss sein! (Must it be? It must be! It must be!)
– Ludwig van Beethoven, comment written on the finale of his String Quartet in F Major, Op. 135

Plaudite, amici, comedia finita est. (Applaud, my friends, the comedy is over.)
– Ludwig van Beethoven, on his deathbed, 1827

I’m a revolutionary, money means nothing to me.
– Frédéric Chopin, quoted in Arthur Headley, Chopin (1947)

After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own.
– Oscar Wilde, 1891

Le concert, c’est moi.
– Franz Liszt, writing to the Princess Belgiojoso on his launch of a new kind of public concert: the solo recital; quoted by Alfred Brendel in The New York Review of Books (22 Nov 1990)

A smasher of pianos.
– Clara Schumann on Liszt, quoted in Alan Walker, Robert Schumann: the Man and his Music (1972)

O Mozart, immortal Mozart, how many, how infinitely many inspiring suggestions of a finer, better life have you left in our souls!
– Franz Schubert, Diary, 1816

Mozart should have composed Faust.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Conversations with Eckermann (1827)

He roused my admiration when I was young; he caused me to despair when I reached maturity; he is now the comfort of my old age.
– Gioachino Rossini on Mozart

 

Mozart is sunshine.
Antonin Dvorak, quoted in Otakar Sourek (ed.), Antonin Dvorak: Letters and Reminiscences (1954)

The sonatas of Mozart are unique; they are too easy for children, and too difficult for artists.
– Arthur Schnabel

Mozart in his music was probably the most reasonable of the world’s great composers. It is the happy balance between flight and control, between sensibility and self-discipline, simplicity and sophistication of style that is his particular province… Mozart tapped once again the source from which all music flows, expressing himself with a spontaneity and refinement and breath-taking rightness that has never since been duplicated.
– Aaron Copland, Copland on Music (1960)

It is sobering to think that when Mozart was my age he had already been dead a year
– Tom Lehrer (speaking of Mozart’s early death at the age of just 35 years)

His character was a mixture of tenderness and coarseness, sensuality and candour, sociability and melancholy.
– Johann Mayrhofer on Schubert; quoted in Westrup, Schubert Music (1969)

Baudelaire: Le Thyrse (à Franz Liszt)

32. Le Thyrse

À Franz Liszt

    Qu’est-ce qu’un thyrse?  Selon le sens moral et poétique, c’est un emblème sacerdotal dans la main des prêtres ou prêtresses célébrant la divinité dont ils sont les interprètes et les serviteurs.  Mais physiquement ce n’est qu’un bâton, un pur bâton, perche à houblon, tuteur de vigne, sec, dur et droit.  Autour de ce bâton, dans des méandres capricieux, se jouent et folâtrent des tiges et des fleurs, celles-ci sinueuses et fuyardes, celles-là penchées comme des cloches ou des coupes renversées.  Et une gloire étonnante jaillit de cette complexité de lignes et de couleurs, tendres ou éclatantes.  Ne dirait-on pas que la ligne courbe et la spirale font leur cour à la ligne droite et dansent autour dans une muette adoration?  Ne dirait-on pas que toutes ces corolles délicates, tous ces calices, explosions de senteurs et de couleurs, exécutent un mystique fandango autour du bâton hiératique?  Et quel est, cependant, le mortel imprudent qui osera décider si les fleurs et les pampres ont été faits pour le bâton, ou si le bâton n’est que le prétexte pour montrer la beauté des pampres et des fleurs?  Le thyrse est la représentation de votre étonnante dualité, maître puissant et vénéré, cher Bacchant de la Beauté mystérieuse et passionnée.  Jamais nymphe exaspérée par l’invincible Bacchus ne secoua son thyrse sur les têtes de ses compagnes affolées avec autant d’énergie et de caprice que vous agitez votre génie sur les c�urs de vos frères. — Le bâton, c’est votre volonté, droite, ferme et inébranlable; les fleurs, c’est la promenade de votre fantaisie autour de votre volonté; c’est l’élément féminin exécutant autour du mâle ses prestigieuses pirouettes.  Ligne droite et ligne arabesque, intention et expression, roideur de la volonté, sinuosité du verbe, unité du but, variété des moyens, amalgame tout-puissant et indivisible du génie, quel analyste aura le détestable courage de vous diviser et de vous séparer?

    Cher Liszt, à travers les brumes, par delà les fleuves, par-dessus les villes où les pianos chantent votre gloire, où l’imprimerie traduit votre sagesse, en quelque lieu que vous soyez, dans les splendeurs de la ville éternelle ou dans les brumes des pays rêveurs que console Cambrinus, improvisant des chants de délectation ou d’ineffable douleur, ou confiant au papier vos méditations abstruses, chantre de la Volupté et de l’Angoisse éternelles, philosophe, poëte et artiste, je vous salue en l’immortalité!


32. The Thyrsus

For Franz Liszt

    What is a thyrsus?  According to the moral and poetic definition, it is a sacerdotal symbol in the hands of priests or priestesses celebrating the divinity of which they are the interpreters and the servants.  But physically it is only a baton, a pure baton, a hop-pole, a vine-stake, dry, hard, and straight.  Around this baton, in capricious meanderings, play and frolic vine-stems and flowers, the first sinuous and fugitive, the second bent over like bells or like overturned goblets.  And an astonishing glory leaps from that complexity of lines and of colors, whether tender or showy.  Might one not say that the curved line and the spiral court the straight line and dance around it in mute adoration?  Might one not say that all of these delicate corollas, all of these calyxes, explosions of scent and of color, perform a mystical fandango around the hieratic baton?  And yet, who is the foolhardy mortal who would dare to determine whether the flowers and the vine-branches were made for the baton, or if the baton is only the pretext for displaying the beauty of the vine-branches and the flowers?  The thyrsus is the representation of your astonishing duality, powerful and venerated master, dear Bacchant of mysterious and passionate Beauty.  Never did a nymph inflamed by invincible Bacchus shake her thyrsus over the heads of her maddened companions with as much energy and capriciousness as you agitate your genius over the hearts of your brothers. — The baton is your will, straight, firm, and unshakeable; the flowers are your fancy promenading around your will; it is the feminine element executing around the male its marvelous pirouettes.  Straight line and arabesque line, intention and expression, rigidity of the will, sinuosity of the word, unity of the end, variety of the means, all-powerful and indivisible amalgam of genius, what analyst would have the detestable courage to divide you and to separate you?

    Dear Liszt, through the mists, beyond the rivers, over the cities where the pianos sing your glory, where the printer conveys your wisdom, wherever you are, in the splendors of the eternal city or in the mists of the dreamy lands that console Cambrinus, improvising songs of delectation or of ineffable sorrow, or confiding to paper your abstruse meditations, bard of eternal Delight and Anguish, philosopher, poet, and artist, I salute you in immortality!

 

Prose poem in Le Spleen de Paris, ed. posth. 1869