19th century french poetry

Rubens, river of oblivion, garden of indolence,
Pillow of cool flesh where one cannot love,
But where life moves and whirls incessantly
Like the air in the sky and the tide in the sea;


Leonardo, dark, unfathomable mirror,
In which charming angels, with sweet smiles
Full of mystery, appear in the shadow
Of the glaciers and pines that enclose their country;


Rembrandt, gloomy hospital filled with murmuring,
Ornamented only with a large crucifix,
Lit for a moment by a wintry sun,
Where from rot and ordure rise tearful prayers;


Angelo, shadowy place where Hercules’ are seen
Mingling with Christs, and rising straight up,
Powerful phantoms, which in the twilights
Rend their winding-sheets with outstretched fingers;


Boxer’s wrath, shamelessness of Fauns, you whose genius
Showed to us the beauty in a villain,
Great heart filled with pride, sickly, yellow man,
Puget, melancholy emperor of galley slaves;


Watteau, carnival where the loves of many famous hearts
Flutter capriciously like butterflies with gaudy wings;
Cool, airy settings where the candelabras’ light
Touches with madness the couples whirling in the dance


Goya, nightmare full of unknown things,
Of fetuses roasted in the midst of witches’ sabbaths,
Of old women at the mirror and of nude children,
Tightening their hose to tempt the demons;


Delacroix, lake of blood haunted by bad angels,
Shaded by a wood of fir-trees, ever green,
Where, under a gloomy sky, strange fanfares
Pass, like a stifled sigh from Weber;


These curses, these blasphemies, these lamentations,
These Te Deums, these ecstasies, these cries, these tears,
Are an echo repeated by a thousand labyrinths;
They are for mortal hearts a divine opium.


They are a cry passed on by a thousand sentinels,
An order re-echoed through a thousand megaphones;
They are a beacon lighted on a thousand citadels,
A call from hunters lost deep in the woods!


For truly, Lord, the clearest proofs
That we can give of our nobility,
Are these impassioned sobs that through the ages roll,
And die away upon the shore of your Eternity.

—  Les Phares (The Beacons), by Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)
2

“I turned silences and nights into words. What was unutterable, I wrote down.  I made the whirling world stand still.” 

- Arthur Rimbaud (1854 - 1891) 

Ballade No.1 in G minor Op. 23
Frédéric Chopin
Ballade No.1 in G minor Op. 23

Frédéric Chopin’s four Ballades are one-movement pieces for solo piano, composed between 1835 and 1842 in various parts of France and Spain. They are some of the most challenging pieces in the standard piano repertoire.

The term “ballade” was associated with French poetry until the mid-19th century, when Chopin was among the first to pioneer the ballade as a musical form. The influence for these four Ballades is claimed to be the poet Adam Mickiewicz. The exact inspiration for each individual Ballade, however, is unclear and disputed. It is clear, however, that they are a novel innovation of Chopin’s, and that the Ballades cannot be placed into another (e.g. the sonata) form. The Ballades have also directly influenced composers such as Franz Liszt and Johannes Brahms who, after Chopin, wrote Ballades of their own.
Besides the sharing of the title, the four ballades are distinct entities from each other. According to composer and music critic Louis Ehlert, “Each [Ballade] differs entirely from the others, and they have but one thing in common – their romantic working out and the nobility of their motives.”
The four ballades are among the most enduring of Chopin’s compositions, and are frequently heard in concerts today.


The Ballade No. 1 in G minor Op. 23 is the first of Frédéric Chopin’s four ballades. It was composed in 1835-36 during the composer’s early days in Paris and was dedicated to Monsieur le Baron de Stockhausen, Hanoverian ambassador to France, and reportedly inspired by Adam Mickiewicz’s poem Konrad Wallenrod. Chopin seemed to have been fond of the piece; in a letter to Heinrich Dorn, Robert Schumann commented that, “I received a new Ballade from Chopin. It seems to be a work closest to his genius (although not the most ingenious) and I told him that I like it best of all his compositions. After quite a lengthy silence he replied with emphasis, ‘I am happy to hear this since I too like it most and hold it dearest.’”
The piece begins with a brief introduction which is thematically unrelated to the rest of the piece. It ends with a dissonant left hand chord D, G, and E-flat. Though Chopin’s original manuscript clearly marks an E-flat as the top note, the chord has caused some degree of controversy, and thus, some versions of the work - such as the Klindworth edition - include D, G, D as an ossia. The main section of the ballade is built from two main themes. The brief introduction fades into the first theme, introduced at measure 7. After some elaboration, the second theme is introduced softly at measure 69. This theme is also elaborated on. Both themes then return in different keys, and the first theme finally returns again in the same key, albeit with an altered left hand accompaniment. A thundering chord introduces the coda, marked Presto con fuoco, which ends the piece. As a whole, the piece is structurally complex and not strictly confined to any particular form, but incorporates ideas from mainly the sonata and variation forms.

Technically, many passages of the ballade require rapid scales, very fast and large chords, octaves, and difficult fingerings.
A distinguishing feature of the Ballade No. 1 is its time signature. While all the other ballades are written in strict compound duple time, with a 6/8 time signature, this ballade bears deviations from this. The introduction is written in 4/4 time, and the more extensive Presto con fuoco coda is written in 2/2. The rest of the piece is written in 6/4, rather than the 6/8 which characterizes the other ballades.

This ballade is one of the more popular Chopin pieces. It is prominently featured in the 2002 Roman Polanski film The Pianist, where an approximately four-minute cut is played by Janusz Olejniczak. It is also played in the 1944 film Gaslight and heard in the 2006 satire Thank You for Smoking. Many noteworthy pianists have performed and recorded the piece, including Vladimir Horowitz, Alfred Cortot, Arthur Rubinstein, Maurizio Pollini, Krystian Zimmerman & Emil Gilels.

Main Theme of Ballade No.1

Pianist:Krystian Zimerman

One of the most interesting interpretations I’ve ever heard. Every note was literally singing. Bravo.

cokepoop  asked:

what're the best things you've read lately?

i like this bc i haven’t talked abt lit in, awhile, and i hav been on a poetry kick

i’m a little obsessed w/ robert duncan, prominent post-war gay poet, i think everything penned by him and about him is worth reading :

other poetry books i hav read in recent months and would recommend : 

The golden gates were opened wide that day,
All through the unveiled heaven there seemed to play
Out of the Holiest of Holy, light;
And the elect beheld, crowd immortal,
A young soul, led up by young angels bright,
Stand in the starry portal.

A fair child fleeing from the world’s fierce hate,
In his blue eye the shade of sorrow sate,
His golden hair hung all dishevelled down,
On wasted cheeks that told a mournful story,
And angels twined him with the innocent’s crown,
The martyr’s palm of glory.

–an excerpt from ‘King Louis XVII (an ode)’ by Victor Hugo

Théophile Gautier (French, 1811-1872) was a French poet, dramatist, novelist, journalist, and art and literary critic. His influence in all of these fields is difficult to overstate. He was friends with all the great literary and artistic luminaries of his time, and paid tribute to them in his works. This wonderful photograph, dating from 1855, is by none other than Nadar.