Archive for febbraio, 2018

19 febbraio 2018

Leopold Bloom ricorda

Glowing wine on his palate lingered swallowed. Crushing in the winepress grapes of Burgundy. Sun’s heat it is. Seems to a secret touch telling me memory. Touched his sense moistened remembered. Hidden under wild ferns on Howth below us bay sleeping: sky. No sound. The sky. The bay purple by the Lion’s head. Green by Drumleck. Yellowgreen towards Sutton. Fields of undersea, the lines faint brown in grass, buried cities.

Pillowed on my coat she had her hair, earwigs in the heather scrub my hand under her nape, you’ll toss me all. O wonder! Coolsoft with ointments her hand touched me, caressed: her eyes upon me did not turn away. Ravished over her I lay, full lips full open, kissed her mouth. Yum. Softly she gave me in my mouth the seedcake warm and chewed. Mawkish pulp her mouth had mumbled sweetsour of her spittle. Joy: I ate it: joy.

Young life, her lips that gave me pouting. Soft warm sticky gumjelly lips.Flowers her eyes were, take me, willing eyes. Pebbles fell. She lay still. A goat. No-one. High on Ben Howth rhododendrons a nannygoat walking surefooted, dropping currants. Screened under ferns she laughed warmfolded. Wildly I lay on her, kissed her: eyes, her lips, her stretched neck beating, woman’s breasts full in her blouse of nun’s veiling, fat nipples upright. Hot I tongued her. She kissed me. I was kissed. All yielding she tossed my hair. Kissed, she kissed me.

Me. And me now.

Ulysses, Chapter 8, 898-918

18 febbraio 2018


La carenza più dolorosa nelle registrazioni furtwaengleriane era, fino a oggi, la terribile resa sonora di quella che reputavo l’unica versione rimasta del Requiem Tedesco di Brahms. Si tratta di una esecuzione radiofonica del 1948, con Kerstin Lindberg-Torlind e  Bernhard Sönnerstedt,  il Musikalista Sällskapet Kör e l’orchestra Stockholm Konsertförenings. Una decina di anni fa, comprai il CD, che restituii subito al negozio protestando che la musica era inudibile. Negli ultimi giorni, su You Tube è apparsa una splendida rimasterizzazione di questa esecuzione.

Ma nel frattempo ho scoperto che quella registrazione non era la sola, visto che ne è emersa un’altra dal Festival di Lucerna 1947, addirittura con Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. Non l’ho mai ascoltata, ma presto colmerò questa lacuna.

4 febbraio 2018

Il buon gusto di Henry James


An impression which on coming back to Italy I find even stronger than when it was first received is that of the contrast between the fecundity of the great artistic period and the vulgarity there of the genius of to-day. The first few hours spent on Italian soil are sufficient to renew it, and the question I allude to is, historically speaking, one of the oddest. That the people who but three hundred years ago had the best taste in the world should now have the worst; that having produced the noblest, loveliest, costliest works, they should now be given up to the manufacture of objects at once ugly and paltry; that the race of which Michael Angelo and Raphael, Leonardo and Titian were characteristic should have no other title to distinction than third-rate genre pictures and catchpenny statues—all this is a frequent perplexity to the observer of actual Italian life. The flower of “great” art in these latter years ceased to bloom very powerfully anywhere; but nowhere does it seem so drooping and withered as in the shadow of the immortal embodiments of the old Italian genius. You go into a church or a gallery and feast your fancy upon a splendid picture or an exquisite piece of sculpture, and on issuing from the door that has admitted you to the beautiful past are confronted with something that has the effect of a very bad joke. The aspect of your lodging—the carpets, the curtains, the upholstery in general, with their crude and violent colouring and their vulgar material—the trumpery things in the shops, the extreme bad taste of the dress of the women, the cheapness and baseness of every attempt at decoration in the cafés and railway-stations, the hopeless frivolity of everything that pretends to be a work of art—all this modern crudity runs riot over the relics of the great period.

Henry James, Italian Hours, 1877

E’ la prima volta che leggo di un americano che accusa di cattivo gusto gli italiani. Non che non avesse ragione, James: il rilievo lo faceva in un periodo del quale restano ancor oggi vestigia di esecrabile pacchianeria, specie per quanto riguarda l’arredamento delle case borghesi. Se aggiungiamo che questi rilievi venivano mossi a seguito di una visita a Torino, non dovremmo sorprenderci. Però, da un americano…

[Ho evidenziato la parola “actual” usata nella stessa accezione dell’italiano attuale, o del francese actuel, mentre oggi nei paesi anglofoni significa “effettivo“. E’ un interessante arcaismo, che forse si deve al fatto che James proveniva dalla Francia, dove aveva dimorato.]