Yes we have Nono Mahlers

August 7, 2007

Strangely melancholic mood today, possibly just exhausted from a few days illness and the effect a cocktail of antibiotics can have, but been a day of romantic and reflective listening. For some reason, on waking really early I felt the need to put on Luigi Nono’s monumental Prometeo, and so at 5.30AM as I dragged my poorly rested body from bed Nono’s self-declared Tragedy of Listening shone about the room. This is pretty unusual for me as I rarely play music in the morning, preferring to listen to Radio4 if anything, but today has been an odd one all round.

Still pretty under the weather I spent much of the day on the living room sofa, getting annoyed at a Su-Do-Ku puzzle and reading TJ Clark’s excellent The Sight of Death about which I’ll probably write more when I’ve finished it, but I also found time to sit and watch the A Trail on the Water DVD that I think I’ve written about here before, the story of the close friendship between Luigi Nono, pianist Maurizio Pollini and conductor Claudio Abbado. I think this Nono obsession today comes from my joy last night after booking tickets to see the Arditti Quartet play a couple of Nono works in October, but no excuse needed really.

Anyway towards the end of the DVD there is a passage of film that draws links between the three artist’s love of Mahler’s symphonies (another recent exploration of mine) and includes a lovely section featuring Abbado conducting Mahler’s Ninth, his final finished symphony completed not long before his death. Then later this evening I headed over to Julie’s and very soon after dinner her own exhaustion got the better of her (she’s had a tough few days) and she fell asleep in my arms on the sofa. I have to admit to being very happy about this however, as believe it or not on BBC4 TV they were about to show the Proms broadcast of Mahler’s Tenth symphony, reconstructed by Derek Cooke from Mahler’s detailed, but unfinished sketches.

So a beautiful experience, a sleeping girlfriend in one arm, a mug of hot lemon and paracetamol in the other, dimmed lights and some gorgeous, melancholic music to boot… Unfortunately it had to end, I had to put Julie to bed, drive home and sit here now getting annoyed at my own irritating cough. Oh well, there’s whisky here and I think I’ll end the day as it began with Prometeo…

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