Jean-Luc Godard, Youssef Ishaghpour: Cinema. The Archaeology of Film and the Memory of a Century (2005)

31 May 2010, dusan

Cinema is quite simply a unique book from one of the most influential film-makers in the history of cinema. Here, Jean-Luc Godard looks back on a century of film as well as his own work and career in the industry. Born with the twentieth century, cinema became not just the century’s dominant art form but its best historian. Godard argues that – after the century of Chaplin and Pol Pot, Monroe and Hitler, Stalin and Mae West, Mao and the Marx Brothers – film and history are inextricably intertwined. Against this backdrop, Godard presents his thoughts on film theory, cinematic technique, film histories, as well as the recent video revolution. As the conversation develops, Godard expounds on his central concerns – how film can ‘resurrect the past’, the role of rhythm in film, and how cinema can be an ‘art that thinks’. Cinema: the archaeology of film and the memory of a century is a dialogue between Godard and the celebrated cinphile Youssef Ishaghpour. Here Godard comes closest to defining a lifetime’s obsession with cinema and cinema’s lifelong obsession with history.

Translated by John Howe
Publisher Berg Publishers, 2005
Talking Images series
ISBN 1845201973, 9781845201975
143 pages

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PDF (updated on 2012-7-14)

Paul Griffiths: The Substance of Things Heard. Writings about Music (2005)

31 May 2010, dusan

Paul Griffiths offers his own personal selection of some of his most substantial and imaginative articles and concert reviews from over three decades of indefatigable concertgoing around the world. He reports on premieres and other important performancesof works by such composers as Elliott Carter, Sofia Gubaidulina, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Steve Reich, as well as Harrison Birtwistle and other important British figures.

Griffiths vividly conveys the vision, aura, and idiosyncrasies of prominent pianists, singers, and conductors (such as Herbert von Karajan), and debates changing styles of performing Monteverdi and Purcell. A particular delight is his response to the world of opera, including Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande (sting productions), Pavarotti and Domingo in Verdi at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, Schoenberg’s Moses and Aaron, and two wildly different Jonathan Miller versions of Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

From the author’s preface: “We cannot say what music is. Yet we are verbal creatures, and strive with words to cast a net around it, knowing most of this immaterial stuff will evade capture. The stories that follow cover a wide range of events over a period of great change. Yet the net’s aim was always the same, to catch the substance of things heard.

“Criticism has to work largely by analogy and metaphor. This is no limitation. It is largely through such verbal ties that music is linked to other sorts of experience, not least the naturalworld and the orchestra of our feelings.”

Publisher University of Rochester Press, 2005
Volume 31 of Eastman studies in music
ISBN 1580462065, 9781580462068
378 pages

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PDF (updated on 2012-8-3)

Joscelyn Godwin: Music and the Occult: French Musical Philosophies, 1750-1950 (1995)

30 May 2010, dusan

This book is an adventure into the unexplored territory of French esoteric philosophies and their relation to music. Occultism and esotericism flourished in nineteenth-century France as they did nowhere else. Many philosophers sought the key to the universe, some claimed to have found it, and, in the unitive vision that resulted, music invariably played an important part. These modern Pythagoreans all believed in the Harmony of the Spheres and in the powerful effects of music on the human soul and body. Faced with the challenge of the rationalist Enlightenment, then with that of modern scientism, they adapted their occultism to the prevailing style. A widely published musicologist and authority on esotericism, Godwin is able to give a clear and concise context for these philosophers’ often surprising beliefs, and he demonstrates how this “speculative music” influenced composers such as Satie and Debussy, who were familiar with occultism. His long study of music and the Western esoteric tradition makes him uniquely qualified to unravel the strange story of these forgotten sages.

Publisher University of Rochester Press, 1995
Volume 3 of Eastman studies in music
ISBN 1878822535, 9781878822536
261 pages

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PDF (updated on 2013-4-14)