If you’re under the age of 35, reading this blog, and free on Sunday, I’m pretty sure that the last thing you want to do is schlep up to 92nd Street at the tender hour of 11 in the morning. But you should: the brunch with Alex Ross looks like it’s going to be very good, and they have a special $10 for we young ‘uns (yes, I’m under 35 for a few weeks yet). The 92y blog has a Q&A with Ross, who’s also blogging himself on what the brunch will bring:
I will look at the poetic roots of two works that forever altered the musical landscape: Debussy’s Prelude to “The Afternoon of a Faun” and Schoenberg’s Second Quartet. In Debussy’s case inspiration came from Mallarmé’s gloriously enigmatic long poem “The Afternoon of a Faun” — “the motionless and weary swoon / Of stifling heat” — and in Schoenberg’s case it was Stefan George’s “Rapture”: “I feel the wind of another planet…. I dissolve in sounds, circling, weaving….” I’ll discuss how conventional harmony crumbled underfoot as the composers chased these elusive images.
Ross’s book, for which this event is a very early plug, looks like it’s going to be really good; it grew, I believe, out of this piece of his, which is well worth reading. In any case, I’m the kind of person who judges books by their covers, and this one reminds me of one of my favorite books of all time. I suspect it will have the same great quality of being a reference one can dip in and out of, too.
(Full disclosure: I, too, was a bit hesitant about getting up to 92nd Street on a Sunday morning, but then I found out that Alex Ross had included me alongside such luminaries as Terry Teachout and Lizzie Skurnick as a Blogger Worth Inviting — so at that point I felt compelled to go.)