I keep saying I’ll stop with the Adam Zagajewski bits, and better before it becomes precious (if that hasn’t already happened).
But two more:
“When asked if European music has core , that is, if one work or another might be called its heart, B. answered, “Yes, of course, the aria ‘Erbarme Dich’ from Bach’s Passion According to St. Matthew. (Text is “Have mercy on me ” and is Peter’s realization that he has betrayed Jesus.)
Here’s Marilyn Horne pouring that opulent tone of hers all over it, and but still haunting and backwards looking.
Nice performances by Christa Ludwig and Michael Chance on YouTube as well.
I agree with B, and it’s diverting to think of other musical genres or art forms that have “a heart” in a single work –jazz, graphic novels, fashion? The “core” of 90s television would be Seinfeld.
Another quip of Zagajewski’s from later in the book:
“Good writers package the unknown in the known. Bad writers put the unknown on top.”