Thursday, October 09, 2008

Stefan Zweig + Richard Strauss = Literary and Musical Ecstacy

At present I am reading Stefan Zweig's novel The Post Office Girl. (I was told that the only novel Zweig produced was Beware of Pity but no, The Post Office Girl is certainly a novel.) Weirdly it has only just been translated into English and is available as part of the excellent New York Review of Books classics series.

Zweig wrote at least one libretto for his friend Richard Strauss and so Strauss seemed good background listening for the minute. A quick trip to Gramex (another quirky but excellent shop on Lower Marsh) and I was the proud owner of several Strauss records.

Stefan Zweig killed himself in a suicide pact with his wife in Brazil. He was in despair, sure that the Nazis were the first stage of the death of the European culture he had dedicated his life to enriching.

Maybe Zweig might have smiled to see me sitting in my favourite green leather arm chair; reading The Post Office Girl, drinking espressos and listening to Strauss's Thus Spoke Zarathustra...

PS Don't spoil it by bringing up 2001 eh!

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