Felsenmusick - The Weblog of Daniel Felsenfeld
The Web Log of a Certain Daniel Felsenfeld: Composer, critic, avid reader, aspiring
bon vivant, capricorn, shadowy figure, advice for the lovelorn

Monday, February 05, 2007

Robert Anton Wilson

As my recently re-ordered copy of the Illuminatus! trilogy arrived in the mail today, on my computer screen I find the news that Robert Anton Wilson, Guerilla Ontoligist, pipe bearer to the Gods, inventor of the ludicrously scientifict, purveyor of that nasty Ubiquitous Unscrupulous Reporter that is always there to report on mass hysterical phenomena (like stolen elections and assasination conspiracies) passed into another realm a few weeks ago. His voice--the smartest on the planet, until January 12 2007--numbers among the most absurdly influential of my young life. Through him I found Joyce, Beethoven (on a certain level), freemasonry, conspriacy theory, quantum physics, certain unmentionables, Orson Welles, and any number of other weird obsessions that stay with me today.

I had a beautiful chance to meet him once: I played a game he organized at a Masonic Temple in Los Angeles. Thoughout this game (which, we came to discover, was based on trying to find and then destroy the Maltese Falcon) I kept finding little things around the temple, oddest of which was a set of plastic cherries, which I presumed was a clue. I walked up to Wilson, whose role in the game, appropriately enough, was God, and asked the Lord what these cherries meant. He exlplained that there were little things in the universe God puts there, things he does not understand, in order to keep himself amused. After all, being all knowing gets a little dull. In other words, what I had in my hand was a fractal. I walked away dazzled; I continue to be to this day, counting this moment as the commencing of my adult insomnia.

So goodnight Mr. Wilson, fondly, from a poor little composer who spent too much time having his mind utterly blown by you. There is no one else to take up your mantle; thank God (being, in this case, you) that we still have all your books. I already cherished them, but knowing that, sadly, there will be no more, makes them all the dearer.

Say hello to Timothy for me, would you?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Dear Departed Menotti

One of my favorites, Gian Carol Menotti, passed on today at the age of 95. I will certainly write more about him later--his brilliance when he was good, his weird presence as an Italian composer in America--but for now I am actually a little too broken up to do it. His was the first music I loved--The Medium, The Saint of Bleecker Street, and especially The Consul were the pieces that made me not only want to compose but compose opera. I know it is hardly out of turn to die just shy of a century on the planet, but it is hard to square his absence (though I never knew him). The world weighs less tonight with him gone.