Music brings pleasure: Nikolaus Harnoncourt reflects persuasively and passionately on his metier. His texts, speeches and interviews reveal the vision of a great artist, looking back on his own influence and far beyond into musical history. He addresses subjects such as the urgency of art, Haydn, and “a crocodile called Mozart”, and considers romantic insight and baroque reminiscence. He gazes into the depths of an immoral world and shares anecdotes from the Vienna Music Society. He explains why artists cannot lie, why The Magic Flute remains an eternal mystery, and why great art ultimately arises from doubt.
Adored as a god in ancient Egypt, cats traveled the spheres of the known world on ship and on their four paws. They were at home in the libraries and kitchens of monasteries, roamed through backyards and allies, slept in royal beds, were useful against mice and served as muses. Humans have felt love, suspicion and hate towards cats. Their mysterious nature has raised superstitions, but has also been a source of inspiration. It was always artists, most of all writers who were on the cat’s side.
Thus the history of the cat is also one of the arts, a cultural history, the history of humankind. Cats have come a long way and this book traces the steps: from early times all the way to the snuggly sofa of today.
The art form of opera is more than 400 years old, but it has maged to stay young and fresh thanks to artists such as Nikolaus Harnoncourt and his unfailing endeavor to continuously renew this art form and our understanding of it. His 80th birthday serves as the perfect opportunity to revisit his life in the colorful world of opera. Numerous examples, from Monteverdi’s “L’Orfeo“ and Mozart’s “Figaro“ to Stravinsky’s “The Rake’s Progress“ illustrate how vivid and lively opera can be.
Opera is a theater for all senses, not a dusty relic from the past, a hallow traditon or elitist vanity fair. Text, music, drama and an image of the world portrayed on stage all come together in the unique cosmos of opera, with the purpose of reflecting our human nature. And thus opera is a necessity, like all forms of art. This is what Nikolaus Harnoncourt demonstrates once more with great passion, intelligence and conviction in this enthralling book.