13. Franck: Symphony In D
[…] I prefer the symphony — Shostakovich 5th, Symphony in D by Franck, Stravinsky, the better parts of Mahler, etc. — but don’t care for the symphony crowd. Stiff phoney crows, all this marble hall exaltation, this church-like holiness. They ought to play this stuff in the jukeboxes of beerhalls, bars. Think of trying to hold the price-line with a whore while listening to Beethoven. This would be life out of the stems of flowers.
Excerpt from Living On Luck by Charles Bukowski
César Franck died in the middle of a street, after being run over by a horse and carriage. How the hell do you not hear that coming?
Franck was a child prodigy, destined to become a famous concert pianist. Instead he became a nameless piano teacher, who wrote symphonic music and operas in his spare time. He received his first round of applause at age 67, at the premiere of this Symphony In D. And then he crossed paths with a horse. If that isn’t life spitting you in the mouth, I don’t know what is.
Sir John Barbirolli & Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Sir John Barbirolli’s physiotherapist was a wealthy man. Had to be. Barbirolli’s conducting style was a mixture of professional understated passion and a horny gorilla on crack. Often his body would go into a spasm in the middle of a performance. Hilarious shit, unless your name is Sir John Barbirolli. Bukowski had every reason to enjoy it like he did.