Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Even Wagner Needed To Fundraise

Our house is filled with books and records. More books and records that I'll ever have time to read or listen to so when a Powell's Books order showed up that my wife had ordered, I sighed with dismay.

Where are we going to fit more books?

But then she handed me a journal called Lapham's Quarterly and said "read this." So I did. Curled up on the couch with dogs for the rest of the night, I actually pulled an all-nighter.

It's hard to describe Lapham's Quarterly - it's a journal of history and ideas, an aggregate of letters, essays and stories pulled together around a general theme. The current issue is called "Arts and Letters." Which is pretty general, but then I like things vague and general.

So I was delighted to come across this letter by Richard Wagner to Otto Wessendonck looking for a monetary advance so the composer can continue his work on his Ring Cycle in exchange for publishing rights to his scores. Sometimes we forget, even the best and most famous struggled at times. There is something human, desperate, in this figure that has become so mythologized over the years.

Although it is not opera related, also check out "Kurt Vonnegut at the Blackboard" which made me audibly gasp with its cleverness when I finished it.

You can find Lapham's Quartely at fine bookstores, not-so-fine bookstores and online.

No comments: