Tuesday 29 November 2016

'Adieu, notre petite table!'

Brookner, rather like James (as in so many other ways) is an unmusical writer, by which I mean music is referred to infrequently in the novels. Brookner characters (distinct, I might aver, from Brooknerians) prefer Radio 4, Britain's main speech network. 'Falling slowly' is a quote from Radio 4's daily Shipping Forecast.

In A Misalliance, Blanche's dull ascetic suitor is represented by his predilection for the Brandenburg Concertos. Lewis Percy has more Romantic tastes: he listens to Mahler 6 at one point, and sobs at Manon.

Mrs May, in Visitors, longs for the noble sound of Schumann or Brahms, and I think it is Zoe in The Bay of Angels who also listens to Schumann. And in one of the early 90s novels, Brief Lives or A Closed Eye, characters attend a performance of Swan Lake.

Brookner's musical choices, then, are somewhat conventional, and her comments a little bland, in contrast to the sophistication of her references to the visual arts.

(A postscript - or perhaps a coda: Because of Anita Brookner I got interested in her almost namesake Anton Bruckner, and I fondly remember hearing Bruckner's Eighth under Dohnanyi at the Theatre du Chatelet one long-ago Parisian evening. It was a very Brooknerian experience, for me at least.)

This is, I think, 'Place du Chatelet under Snow' by
Eugene Laloue, mentioned in the opening pages of Falling Slowly.

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