Friday, September 05, 2014

Heavenly Blues

This is the way it looks now across the field toward one part of Hymas Woods Nature Preserve; we see this or some version of it on the Daily Walk. Cassie, the dachshund, has become addicted to this walk and starts whining around if we are late getting started.

I have been reading  Dieterich Buxtehude; organist in Lubeck, Schirmer, 1987, by Kerala J. Snyder. I found an available used copy of the older edition (the new one, which music scholars will need, is quite costly) the last week after listening to the Public Radio Program, Pipe Dreams,which is on every Sunday night here. They played a whole program of Buxtehude's organ music (great stuff!) and told many stories, like the one about the walk that Johann Sebastian Bach took in 1705,  "J.S. Bach, then a young man of twenty, walked from Arnstadt to Lübeck, a distance of more than 400 kilometres (250 mi), and stayed nearly three months to hear the Abendmusik, meet the pre-eminent Lübeck organist, hear him play, and, as Bach explained, "to comprehend one thing and another about his art". Quotation from the Wikipedia article on Buxtehude. The whole matter of the transition to Protestant thought and thought-control (Martin Luther nailed up his 95 These in the year 1517.) in Germany is very interesting.

The quote from the book I want to share tonight is from a letter that William Carr, the English consul in Amsterdam wrote after his visit to Lubeck in the mid-1670s.

And so I have been thinking a lot about Europe and European civilization. geography, economics, literature, art and music and chivalry, religion and war and so forth. Reading this book has shown me again how limited much of my education has been. It is a fascinating book, as often a book can be if written by someone who has been deeply soaked in the material. Snyder explains about the development of organ tuning and tempering. It is really tricky and hard to understand and she seems to have mastered it.

"In former times this city was the place, where the deputies of all the Hansiatick towns assembled [A reference to the Hanseatic League, an economic and political alliance of towns in the areas around the Baltic Sea that had been a very powerful engine for the economic growth of the area. My note.] and was once so powerful as to make war against Denmark and Sweden, and to conquer severall places and Islands belonging to those two crowns, nay and to lend ships to England and other Potentates, without any prejudice to their own trade, wherein they vied in all parts with their neighbours; but it is now exceedingly run into decay not onely in territories, but in wealth and trade also. And the reason of that was chiefely the inconsiderate zeal of their Lutheran Ministers, who perswaded the Magistrates to banish all Roman Catholicks, Calvinists, Jews and all that dissented from them in matter of Religion, even the English Company too, who all went and settled in Hambourg to the great advantage of that city and almost ruine of Lubeck, which hath not now above 200 Ships belonging to it, nor more territories to the State; than the city it self and a small part called Termond [Travemunde] about eight miles distant from it. The rest of there territories are now in the possession of the Danes and Swedes, by whom the burghers are so continually allarmed that they are quite tired out with keeping guard and paying of Taxes." 
Snyder, page 39.

I had read plenty about the Reformation and the counter-Reformation, but never so much about the economic consequences of some of these Draconian policies. Oh, Government! Oh, Religions! Oh, Human Beings! It's enough to make one want to write a poem. . . .    Good night!

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful sky scene at that nature preserve! I have not read a real book in some time but plan to sit out in the back yard and read tomorrow. Have you ever heard of Elsie Hill? She wrote a kids poem called Thomas Takes His Pen. Maybe that was the only thing she ever published because I come up with much by googling.