Sunday, February 10, 2008

For the Love of Music

The relationship between Walter and Clarisse is centered around Clarisse's wholehearted love of music. Growing up in an environment where she was surrounded by stage sets and designs (i.e. things she thought was a "decoration" added to the music), Clarisse "had come to loathe from the depths of her soul everything voluptuary in art" (50). This is perhaps a part of reason why Wagner, who pursued Gesamtkunstwerk.

Also, I think Clarisse had already established her liking for a certain kind of music, such as Beethoven. And being a devoted music-lover that she is, this liking is probably a lot stronger than that of most people. Meanwhile, Musil provides a description of modernists artists as that "all the people involved in destroying the achievements of a preceding good epoch feel they are improving on them" (53). It is possible that Clarisse disliked playing Wagner for that, because Beethoven was already a "genius" to her.

When Walter and Clarisse sit down in front of the piano, they have a certain commitment as musicians. Music clearly means a lot to them, and even if they didn't like each other at all, for example, I think they will still play cooperatively to keep the music that they produce beautiful. They therefore get along very well when they are playing a duet, unless Walter is playing Wagner. They don't have the same sort of connection when they are simply having a conversation. Clarisse probably simply loves the music talent in Walter, and not Walter himself. That is why her love is strong when they are playing a duet, weaker when they are not, and even rejects when Walter plays Wagner.

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