Category Archives: Ezra Pound

>Allen’s Classical Jukebox (Notes on Music Notes 1)


Following up on yesterday’s post, here’s a few additional notes to the auctioneer’s notes and a few further superficial notations.

So, Clement Janequin (1485-1558) and his “Chant des Oiseaux” (Song of the Birds). Allen is drawing here on his knowledge of Ezra Pound’s work on early music and sends the reader to Pound’s Canto 75 (“Out of Phlegethon!/out of Phlegethon,/Gerhart/art thou come forth out of Phlegethon?…” – ”Phlegethon”, from Greek mythology, one of the five principal rivers in the realm of Hell (Hades). It flows with fire and burns but does not consume. Gerhart – German composer, Gerhart Munch, who escaped from the war, bearing music manuscripts (including a handwritten transcription, for violin and piano, of Francesco da Milano’s lute transcriptions of Janequin’s choral setting).

“Clement Janequin wrote a chorus…when Francesco da Milano reduced it for the lute, the birds were still with the music. And when Munch transcribed it for modern instruments the birds were still there’, writes Pound in his ABC of Reading

Alonso Mudarra (1510-1580) (mis-transcribed by Allen as Alphonse De Mudurra)’s David’s Lament (Triste Estaba el Rey David) – Spanish composer – A performance of this piece (by the Kings Singers) can be accessed here

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) – AG (and/or his transcriber) surely don’t mean Mass in 5 minor (sic), but Mass in B minor and for Partita #2, here’s the legendary Glenn Gould playing it . For a performance of the St Matthew’s Passion (this exquisite performance by the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Soloists), can be found here

Ludvig van Beethoven’s (1770-1827) Grosse Fugue, as performed by the Alban Berg Quartet in 1989, can be found here. His Piano Sonata Opus 111, performed by Sviatoslav Richter, may be listened to here

“Quarter op. 116 (?) , the one so strained” – Quartet (sic) Opus 116. Any idea what Allen is referencing here? – Beethoven’s Opus 116 is this, but does he really mean this Terzetto:Tremate, empi, tremante”? perhaps he has his numbers wrong?

Missa Solemnis, Opus 123, yeshere’s the Kyrie

Sviatoslav Richter can also be heard playing here the work of (Franz) Schubert’s that Allen cites (the auctioneer doesn’t enumerate), the Schubert Sonata in A Major. For (Johannes Brahms, we’ll send you to Eugene Istomin, Isaac Stern, and Leonard Rose playing the first movement of Brahms Piano Trio No.1. (the composition, Allen’s choice). Prokofieff’s famous film-score to Sergei Eisenstein’s masterpiece Alexander Nevsky is where he leads us with Prokofieff (pointing out that this was a favorite piece of music for Jack Kerouac). Pieces by Arnold Schoenberg (Verklarte Nachthere’s Pierre Boulez and the New York Philharmonic), and Karlheinz Stockhausen‘s Kontakte, complete the survey.


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Filed under Allen Ginsberg, Beat Studies, Ezra Pound, Music

>Friday’s Weekly Round-Up 6

>Here’s for the holiday season our now-regular miscellaneous Ginsberg round-up, the last round-up for 2010

More Arthur Russell/Allen Ginsberg

You all know Arthur Russell’s appearance playing cello on “Do The Meditation Rock” from Nam June Paik’s Good Morning Mr. Orwell (1984) but here the two are again, Allen intoning this time on Arthur’s “Soon To Be Innocent Fun”, featuring John Moran with Allen Ginsberg, from the 1993 Meet The Locusts, produced by Philip Glass. Vocals are by John Moran, Joyce Bowden and Allen Ginsberg. Arrangement is by John Moran. Allen’s recorded voice also featured as “a patriarchal commentator named Justinius” in “Mathew in the School of Life”, Moran’s 1995 “science fiction techno opera”.

Ezra Pound and Allen Ginsberg

We’ve been meaning to get to this. Rodger Kamentz’s powerful verse essay, Allen Ginsberg Forgives Ezra Pound on Behalf of the Jews” appeared recently in the Jewish Daily Forward. A verse essay, Kamentz explains is “a form that allows the exploration of ideas and associations as well as the use of documentary material” .The stepping off point of the poem was a 1992 interview. Read more of Kamentz’s introduction and the “essay” here. Here’s some more on Ginsberg and Pound (a 1967 poem from Allen that he dedicates to Pound) from the Winter 2008 issue of Flash Point magazine, and a photo taken by Ettore Sottsass.

Howl DVD and Blueray

January 4 2011 is the date of the release of the DVD and the Blueray versions of Howl, the movie, not too long to go now. Oscilloscope have informed us that these new Howl releases will feature the following bonus materials:

“Commentary by James Franco and the Directors”; Holy! Holy! Holy! Making of Howl”; “Original interviews with Allen Ginsberg’s friends and collaborators”; “James Franco Reads “Howl”” – (An) “Audio Excerpt Performance: Ginsberg in 1995 at NYC’s Knitting Factory” (with additional BD-only clips); (A) “Q&A Session with the Filmmakers, as moderated by John Cameron Mitchell “(BD-only)

Harold Chapman’s Photos

January 4 also marks the date of the Harold Chapman Paris and the Beat Hotel sale at Bonham’s in London. A collection of Chapman’s prints titled “Peter Golding’s Harold Chapman Archive” is going up for sale. See our recent note on his last show this past summer at London’s Proud Galleries. The Archive consists of 108 photographs, approximately half of which were reproduced in Chapman’s 1984 The Beat Hotel book (which featured introductory texts by William S Burroughs and Brion Gysin – see also Harold Chapman, Beats A Paris: Und Die Dichter Der Beat Generation 1957-1963). A selection of prints are up for viewing now, and the entire set be viewed upon request. A recent BBC film report on Chapman’s work can be found here.

Dylan and Ginsberg

Sean Wilentz, whose book on Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan in America, is another book we’ve profiled, was recently interviewed in American about the Dylan-Ginsberg link “The two of them had a profound impact on each other in terms of cultural imagery”, Wilentz declares, ”Dylan helped inspire some of his greater (sic) poems, including “Wichita Vortex Sutra.” Ginsberg helped legitimize Dylan’s lyric writing as serious poetry, and Dylan helped render Ginsberg into a kind of pop figure which he had not been before.”

On The Road Film

We told you last month that we’d keep you posted about the filming of On The Road. You know the one where Tom Sturridge plays Carlo Marx/Allen Ginsberg? Well, shooting’s wrapped up, apparently. Here’s a photo-essay from our good friends in San Francisco at the Beat Museum. And here’s a note from the local paper in the very final stop, the very final location, Locke, Louisiana.

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Filed under Allen Ginsberg, Arthur Russell, Beat Hotel, Beats, Bob Dylan, Ezra Pound, Harold Chapman, Howl DVD, John Moran, Philip Glass, Rodger Kamentz, Sean Wilentz, Tom Sturridge

>Fernanda Pivano 1917-2009

[photo: Allen with Fernanda Pivano & Ettore Sottsass, probably in Rapallo near Genoa, at the time they were visiting Ezra Pound there, late Summer 1967. c. Allen Ginsberg Estate.]

[Ezra Pound, Allen Ginsberg and Fernanda Pivano La Gritta American Bar, Portofino, Italy, September 1967. c. Ettore Sottsass]

Yes, this is starting to look like some kind of obit page, but these things really do need mention. ANSA reported yesterday that Fernanda Pivano passed away Tuesday night at a clinic in Milan. She was 92 years old. A close friend of Allen’s till his death (she & her ex husband Ettore Sottsass were one of the last phone conversations he had before slipping into a coma), as a translator she single handedly did more to introduce 20th Century American literature to Italy than any other Italian figure.

Her correspondence with Allen was so frequent and involved while translating his poems, that Allen would later use these as a basis for all his translation correspondences. The letter below is an example of just that sort of detail one could expect. In the early 2000s, Pivano donated her entire collection of letters and papers to the Fondazione Benetton Studi Richerche in Milan, and it is open to the public.

Letter from Allen to Nanda Pivano, Benares, March 2, 1963.
[courtesy Fondazione Benetton Studi Richerche, Milan]

Also, a clip of Pivano interviewing Kerouac:

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Filed under Allen Ginsberg, Beat Memories, Beat Studies, Beats, Ezra Pound, Fernanda Pivano, Jack Kerouac