Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Non-linear Movement

Denise Restout, a student and companion of Wanda Landowska, died in 2004, and donated her collection of Landowksa's musical library to the Library of Congress.

Landowska had been a student of the influential Aleksander Michalowski.

Michalowski studied under Karol Mikuli, who studied under Frederic Chopin, who died in 1849.

So here it is, a magnificent progression of musical genius right back to Chopin. So, on a first glance we have a real link to the masters of the romantic era. Landowsky was practically a contemporary of Tchaikovsky and studied (I think) under one of Franz Liszt's students.

One problem though: Landowska, instead of being a conduit of the the romantic aesthetic, chose to revive the baroque. Wanda Landowska, who died in 1959, is responsible for our modern appreciation of Bach's harpsichord works and was the first to record the Goldberg variations.

This is a maddening puzzle I used to bang against when I studied history: ideas and movements pop in out throughout epochs, defying any logical progression or flow. When I started delving deeper into modern history, sometimes it seemed as if the French revolution had never happened.

The best I can figure is that there is a recessive genetic feature to Hegel's concept of the dialectic, where ideas progress by a clash between the thesis and anti-thesis,which produces a synthesis, which in turn results in a new thesis. Every now and then, an older idea, belief, or art form pops back. In Landowska's case, this was very beneficial for us.

1 comment:

Eiranai said...

Revival of baroque music is an example of good "non-linear movement." Revival of shag haircuts, tube tops and mullets is an example of bad "non-linear movement." ;D

Didn`t know you were a classical fan.