A Conversation for Renaissance Aliens: Fazio Cardano's 1491 Close Encounter

Fascinating!

Post 1

paulh, making lemonade from the lemons that life has given me

Good work, Dmitri! I had no idea that close encounters with extraterrestrials had been reported so long ago. It's also fascinating that 15th-Century literati would be debating whether the universe was created for eternity or from moment to moment. I should have guessed, though, for that is the human condition. None of us knows for sure whether we might be gone the next moment, or present in some form for all time to come.


Fascinating!

Post 2

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Freshly Vaccinated

Thanks for the comment, Paul. smiley - biggrin

You know, you're right - people must have been debating that for ages. I mean, how do you know whether the 'now' you're in is the same as the 'now' you WERE in? The mind boggles. smiley - winkeye

Apparently, the Cardanos did a lot of that kind of thinking. I was pretty surprised at them, too. smiley - laugh


Fascinating!

Post 3

paulh, making lemonade from the lemons that life has given me

What I'd love to do sometime is find translations of some of the debates that were going on in Florence in the 1580s and 1590s, when the top creative people wanted to revive the musical plays that they imagined the ancient Greeks used to mount. Historians now believe that Greek plays were chanted, not sung, but the Florentines considered it their calling to mount modern versions of their own. This period of creative ferment culminated in the first operas. Caccini's "Orfeo" and Peri's version of the same story were premiered in 1600 at a major Medici wedding in the Pitti Palace.

Operas have gone through many stylistic transmogrifications in the 400+ years since, but Caccini's and Monteverdi's efforts had a light texture that sounded like a string of Renaissance lute songs. I think they're delightful, though there were many at the time who thought it was musical sacrilege to deviate from the norms established by Renaissance style. [Change is *always* resisted by many. It is only in retrospect that people are able to be dispassionate in viewing the changes...]


Fascinating!

Post 4

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Freshly Vaccinated

You're right - that would be really interesting. smiley - smiley

People get passionate about music, don't they? It would be interesting to be able to be a mouse at a Paganini concert, or see ladies faint for Liszt, or hear them argue about which castrato was a greater singer.

Heck, I'd give a lot just to be able to hear a Baroque opera the way it was originally sung. I'll bet that was something - although I'm not that fond of over-ornamentation.


Fascinating!

Post 5

paulh, making lemonade from the lemons that life has given me

"Amadeus" barely scratched the surface about the backstage life of musicians. A great 17th-century composer was murdered by the husband of a woman he was seducing. In the 18th century, a composer named Schobert died from eating poisonous mushrooms. The renaissance composer Gesualdo -- known for unconventional harmonies -- is aid to have killed someone. Many stories surround Handel. He nearly died in a duel with another composer named Matheson. Handel was none too gentle with his sopranos. If they didn't sing the notes he wrote for them, he would squeeze them in a bear hug and let them dangle over the edge of the stage until they saw things his way smiley - yikes. Opera eventually became too unprofitable for him, so he stopped writing them and began writing oratorios. Fans of his operas became so angry that they stood outside and attacked listeners going in to hear his oratorios.

Have I mentioned Haydn's torrid romance with Luigia Polzelli, a minor opera singer at Eszterhazy? trouble was, she had a husband and son. Then she had another son who looked nothing like the first son. She later claimed that the younger son was Haydn's.


Fascinating!

Post 6

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Freshly Vaccinated

I'd have checked his nose - as I understood it, Haydn had a large one. smiley - rofl

Sounds like you've got the makings of afirst-rate Guide Entry there. It would make thrilling reading. smiley - winkeye

Painters were no better, either - think about Caravaggio.


Fascinating!

Post 7

paulh, making lemonade from the lemons that life has given me

You're right. Haydn had an aquiline nose. He would not have looked out of place when he visited Italy in his teens.

The question is how to organize the potential guide article. Should it focus on violence among the icons of classical composers? If so, I could add Bach, who apparently pulled a knife on someone in his youth. Probably the best-traveled composer was Froberger, who traipsed all over Europe in the mid-1600s. When he visited England, he was attacked by bandits and robbed. Hummel traveled a lot, too, as far as Moscow and Saint Petersburg. John Field, the Irish pianist-composer who pretty much invented the nocturne, accompanied him and decided to stay on in Russia. Glinka heard him play as a young man, and was inspired to become a composer.

Itinerant musicians were very valuable in those days. Froberger in particular made sure that the latest developments in Baroque keyboard style were well-known from Italy to England to Germany and beyond. Pachelbel and Buxtehude would have heard his music, as would Louis Couperin in France and various notables elsewhere. Pachelbel in turn was a *huge* influence on J S Bach, who as a child would sneak into the locked cupboard where his older brother stored a stash of Pachelbel keyboard music. There's a tendency to think that Bach was always an improvement over his predecessors, but sometimes Pachelbel wrote better settings of Lutheran hymns -- "Christes Lag in Todesband," for instance. I love Pachelbel and Buxtehude, and enjoy them on their own terms. smiley - smiley


Fascinating!

Post 8

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Freshly Vaccinated

You're right, yhodr huyd ertr htrsy vompdrtd. smiley - smileyNothin wrong with Pcchelbel, other thatn that the muzak industry worked his canon to death and beyond. smiley - winkeye

It sounds like you have so much material, it's hard to choose. Maybe just pick one or two?


Fascinating!

Post 9

tucuxii

An interesting piece - well written as usual - to me it presents as a fairly typical case of schizophrenia. The thing that mystifies me is why he wasn't treated as someone who was possessed or subjected to inquisition for "consorting with demons".


Fascinating!

Post 10

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Freshly Vaccinated

Thanks. smiley - smiley I agree - that's what surprised me. Cardano was probably not the first mathematician to be a little, well, differently mentated, and certainly not the last. But we tend to think that everyone back then was so superstitious that they'd immediately charge him with consorting with demons. Instead, they seem to have been pretty snaguine about it.

Maybe there was more room for eccentricity than we think. smiley - winkeye


Fascinating!

Post 11

paulh, making lemonade from the lemons that life has given me

A good title can help make material manageable. I'm thinking of "Musicians, Mayhem, and Murder." Gesualdo was suspected of killing a man, Stradella actually was murdered [it is thought], and there's plenty of mayhem [Handel's soprano bear-hugs smiley - evilgrin], and so on.
I've long regarded napoleon as a murderer for killing Joseph Haydn. Or was it bad karma? Haydn rolled in the hay with Luigia Polzelli; he even wrote better arias for her than for the sopranos he had at his disposal [except that she probably needed the extra help, as her singing wasn't exactly stellar]. Those who believe in a vindictive deity might think Haydn had it coming. Contemporaries considered Mozart and Haydn to be very silly men, but they were harder on Mozart for his associations with unsavory friends, with whom he ran up large gambling debts. Did Mozart die young because of his vbad behavior, or was it just a virulent disease that killed many of Mozart's masonic brothers?


Fascinating!

Post 12

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Freshly Vaccinated

Inquiring minds want to know. smiley - bigeyes Those are great stories!


Fascinating!

Post 13

paulh, making lemonade from the lemons that life has given me

I know there's a popular notion that Salieri might have killed Mozart, amplified by "Amadeus," which unfortunately demeans Salieri as a composer. Did you know that for a while Salieri was France's best composer of operas? He also taught some eminent composers. In any event, why focus on a "murder" that was almost certainly a case of a virulent flulike disease, when there really have been composers who have been murdered or maimed, but didn't have Mozart's cache?


Fascinating!

Post 14

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Freshly Vaccinated

I never knew that much abotu Salieri, but I always assumed 'Amadeus' was wildly imaginative fiction. ,rofl> I know those playwrights, they take an idea and run with it.

And I agree - that's totally irresponsible of them. Most people don't bother to check, and they get their history from the movies.

The other week, my editor was talking to me about '12 Years a Salve'. What I was putting into the lesson was based on reading the book. I realised he'd seen the film. Which I haven't yet. smiley - laugh So I don't know how close it is to the book.


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