In Which I Am Proven Wrong...by Science!

So I was saying that Messiaen's Quatuor pour la fin du temps is surely an excellent piece, but that given the 70 or so years since its inception, it isn't really astonishing anymore.

"Nuh uh," my interlocutor insisted. "It's still astonishing."

I mean, I guess. But not really astonishing. It's well known and widely performed and studied, so how astonishing can it really be? Perhaps this is a semantic or rhetorical squabble, but still...

"Nuh uh. I'll prove it."

Mimir Chamber proves 'Quartet for the End of Time' still has power to astonish
Scott Cantrell, Dallas Morning News, 7/14/2010

Aw, fiddlesticks.

But wait. What's a "Mimir Chamber"?

Figure 1: One imagines a secret meeting room where shadowy, powerful men negotiate the fate of the world. ("You can't fight in here! This is the war room!")

...Nearly 70 years on, the eight-movement, 45-minute work still astonishes. And so it did again Tuesday night at Texas Christian University's PepsiCo Recital Hall, thanks to the Mimir Chamber Music Festival.

Okay. Title-writing guy? Couple-a things.

"Mimir Festival" or even simply "Mimir" would have been perfectly clear shorthand for "Mimir Chamber Music Festival." Although one is thankful your preferred truncation was not some nouveau-cable station abbreviation like "MimFest," "Mimir Chamber" is bad and dumb and unclear to boot.

Second, and through fault of neither author nor inept title-writer:

...Texas Christian University's PepsiCo Recital Hall...

Fucking hell, people. Way to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's.

Figure 2: A parable, of sorts, for those with eyes to see.


John Kurman said...

A quick googling reveals on their website that the Mimir Chamber Music Festival is "named for the Norse god of wisdom". Well, Mimir, or Mim (Old Norse, the rememberer, the wise one") was more likely (as he is listed among the names of jotunn) one of the Jotunn, the frost giants. The Frost giants, in turn, are equivalent to the greek Titans, and are thus the Big People that our anscestors (teh gods) often dealt with. In short, Mimir was a Neanderthal, Mimir's Chamber was a cave someplace, and it probably wasn't particularly well-furnished or smell very nice.

Sator Arepo said...

Ah, my good Mr. Kurman,

Yes; agreed on all points, although if the price of wisdom be foul smells, is the price too high? (One imagines that, say, Mr. Wilde and Mr. Thoreau might disagree on this point.)

Also, the Google Image pics I turned up for Mimir were amusing, but I decided to go with Herr Doktor Strangelove instead. But I was on that trolley, too.

And surely at a music festival in Fort Worth, one must match like with like, yes?*

*[Old joke: What does Dallas have that Fort Worth doesn't? A nice town an hour away.]

Empiricus said...

"At the end, the audience paid the highest compliment of sitting in silence for quite a time before breaking into loud applause."

That's the joy of proof, right?

Sator Arepo said...

Ah, on the contrary: that's the proof of joy, my friend. Dialectics, as you know, cuts both ways.