Zemlinsky

Warning: this post contains mildly gross content

The other day I was thinking about composer Alexander Zemlinsky, who once shaved his face using shoe polish instead of shaving cream.  He nearly poisoned himself to death.   Zemlinsky popped into my head for two reasons: first, because his music seems to be flying on a wave of appreciation fifty years after his death. Second, because nearly killing yourself by smearing shoe polish all over your face is so incredibly absent-minded professorish it’s almost admirable.  To live life like that!  So engaged in art that nothing else matters!  I love the idea.

But . . . 

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Zemlinsky and the Moon

I’m no scientist, but the way I understand it, the Earth’s blanket of clouds, mist, precipitation, dust, and volcanic ash will change the moon’s color tonight. It might turn blood red, orange, or dark brown. The exact shade of the moon will reveal something about the Earth's atmosphere in a particular moment. Seeing it, you might feel inspiration or a spark of madness or the hope of attaining the unattainable. You might become a werewolf.

I’m not actually superstitious, but when a new Bridge CD of classical songs by Alexander Zemlinsky landed in my mailbox yesterday, I felt a stab of something weird. You see, many of the songs are about the moon.

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