Wednesday, May 9, 2012

"I cry a lot because I miss people . . . "

I have nothing now but praise for my life. I'm not unhappy. I cry a lot because I miss people. They die and I can't stop them. They leave me and I love them more.... There are so many beautiful things in the world which I will have to leave when I die, but I'm ready, I'm ready, I'm ready.

His words remind me of Holden Caulfield's proscription against telling others what's in your heart, because "if you do, you start missing everybody."

May the great writer and artist Maurice Sendak be finding things more beautiful than he ever imagined in the life after this one. May he know infinite mercy.

(Above: the poster for the Houston Grand Opera's 1980 production of The Magic Flute, designed by Sendak, in which Mozart is greeted by the Three Spirits.)


Clare Krishan said...

While driving on the afternoon that the news came in over the transomes, I was listening in to a rebroadcast of an interview
with him from last September and found myself hoping that at the moment of death he had in his mind's eye exactly that choral opus that made him cry and that Mahler would be beside St Peter at the pearly gates welcoming him to the glory of the everlasting Easter party - such hard cases of obviously sensitive souls who reject God and all his wonderous works (lacking the courage to reject שָׂטָן -- satan in Hebrew from a verb meaning to “obstruct, oppose” -- and all his empty promises) is why I so cherish the spiritual treasure of indulgences in the Church's stewardship of our Lord's economy of grace.

Perhaps the mysterious fact that, in his illustration of the farmyard birthday celebration, Sendak arranged 9 candles in the form of a Jewish menorah and in his recollection of abject grief over 9/11 he spoke of Mahler's work using a Christian meme ("The Resurrection Symphony" which NPR couldn't bring itself to accurately quote in the URL, ergh so much for journalistic integrity, kyrie eleison) he harbored hope for his dying companion and himself? I will pray the Divine Mercy for his soul and the myriad admirers of Mahler, that music be the thread that leads them through the labyrinth to an eternal rest to enjoy a freedom they knew only 'as through a glass darkly' this side of heaven! Our human works cannot save us yet perhaps a gifted artist in acknowledging even for a mere moment that the glory evoked therein is a mere inkling of life's magnum mysterium, that suffering in dedicated service to one's gifts and talents, not for self aggrandizement but self-empyting joy, and that the gratitude of others may merit a share in our Saviour's self-emptying joy for eternity?

Pentimento said...

Amen, Clare. By their fruits will you know them.

Clare Krishan said...

Here's what my hope sounds like:

Eteri Gvazava (Soprano)
Anna Larsson (Alto)

Lucerne Festival Orchestra
Orfeon Donostiarra

Claudio Abbado


St. Anthony pray for us!

St. Bernadette pray for us

(we have Fritz Werfel, espoused to Mahler's widow, to thank for a moving Lourdes narrative later filmed).

n.b. Sendak's book redacts significant aspects of an earlier treatment of the Bumble-Ardy meme
(ham's not kosher of course. In telling the tale from a pig's eye view perhaps the author intentionally removed what his conscience knew was sacrilegious content - one can hope so)

Pentimento said...

Thanks for posting the beautiful Mahler. I'm a great admirer of Claudio Abbado's conducting.

Grace is strange and mercy is infinite; I have confidence in both regarding the great Maurice Sendak, whose death for me feels almost personal, as Pavarotti's did in 2007.

Clare Krishan said...

serendipity led me to chose that clip of the many on offer - just in case a reader arrives here by googling Sendak and Mahler, mourning or inconsolate, here's the poem (not being an afficionado I'm unsure how much was original in Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock's 'Aufersteh'n' and how much is Mahler's own)

"As Herbert Reid later explained, Mahler's temperament sensed the imminent upheavals that were to shatter the rationality and optimism that had driven Western civilization up to World War I. His symphonies are spiritual quests that reflect a wholly modern ambivalence of joy and pain, faith and doubt, transcendence and perdition. Mahler was way ahead of his time. Only by the 1960s did his private anxieties at last become our own."

and more surprising serendipity (or not, I found this AFTER my last post, I cannot claim to have know any of what follows for longer than five minutes ago!)

"A 2003 concert by the Lucerne Festival Orchestra led by Claudio Abbado (DG, 2 full-priced CDs) is far more bold. I must admit with some shame that I bought this out of morbid curiosity to see how Abbado’s near-fatal bout with cancer had affected his artistry. Claudio Abbado and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra (DG) As perverse as it might sound, the fact is that confrontations with mortality transformed artists like Dinu Lipatti and Ferenc Fricsay to produce transcendent performances that boosted their perception even beyond the extraordinary levels they had previously attained. After all, the sheer knowledge that a performance of a work is likely to be his last charges an artist with heightened responsibility and can endow the result with a special aura."