Saw the Takacs Quartet with Musica Viva today, and I’m fairly certain they’re the best string quartet I’ve ever seen. A remarkable concert. The Australian composer for the day, Gordon Kerry, had the least of the pieces on offer (in both length and quality), but what interested me was that, after he had taken his applause, and was walking back to his seat (two rows in front of me, on the aisle), he walked past it and had to be called back by his friends – obviously he was so bewildered by standing in front of people that he got a bit confused. I remember, at my 21st birthday party for the family, I, before I realised what I was saying, probably wished about ten people “happy birthday” when welcoming them.
Also got myself, complimentary (they were on the same table as the programs, to “thank everyone for supporting Musica Viva”), a copy of Currency Companion to Music and Dance in Australia, which is an encyclopedia, basically, of lots of music/dance stuff. Costs $70 normally, I think. They must’ve had excess stock they couldn’t shift. Still, might come in use sometime. (It’s also probably one of the only permanent things I’ve ever gotten complimentary, apart from programs – wine/food and the concerts/shows themselves all being rather transitory things.)
I reckon I’ve read less than 1% of Keats’ oeuvre, which makes reading his biography somewhat interesting. But I read one poem in its entirety today – the entire sonnet, that is, so not too much of an achievement. ”When I have fears that I may cease to be”. Quite liked that one. Quite liked it.
I have a friend who I take to concerts/whatnot (no space) with me or is rarely fully satisfied with what he sees – I’m much more inclined to like something than he is. I think he’s trying to search for more than is there, or grasping for meaning when you don’t need any to enjoy it, and so on (especially with dance). I wonder if I mightn’t have a version of his condition with regards to poetry – I keep expecting these ecstasies that I never get. The closest I come is reading a line and thinking, “that’s a great line”. Which I suppose is what is meant to happen. Maybe I read poetry too fast. Maybe I need to slow down.
Read the part of the biography involving the Negative Capability letter today too, and wondered whether the motif of mine over the last year or so of preferring to “have thoughts, not opinions”, is in much the same vein. There was a bit earlier on in the biography where it said that Keats was agreeing with someone – Reynolds, I think it was – that “belief” is being able to live with contradictions. (Something like that.) I think that has a lot to do with it as well, obviously.
Last night, I forgot to mention, there was a woman I saw in the front row, who, when an actor was doing her monologue, was nodding along with what she was saying. Actually nodding her head. Her mouth slightly open as well. (I’m sure actors get that all the time, but I don’t remember seeing it, at least in recent memory.)
And I’m reading about Keats writing all his stuff, and I didn’t write a single line on my play today. Sigh.