The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #68089   Message #1143181
Posted By: Desert Dancer
22-Mar-04 - 03:09 PM
Thread Name: Rick Fielding's passing. (March 20, 2004)
Subject: RE: Rick Fielding's passing.
I didn't know Rick, and I'm not a guitarist so I didn't follow his posts in detail, but since I joined the Mudcat his presence has been impossible to miss and always enjoyable. Like other Mudcatters with such a passing acquaintance with him, I found tears coming at the announcement of his illness and now at his passing. I wasn't going to post, but this morning's project was some research for a music class I teach (2nd grade) and I was struck by some of the story on this web site about Moussorgsky's composition, Pictures at an Exhibition:

In 1873 the artist and architect Victor Hartmann died at the premature age of 39. Although he was an artist of energy and talent, today his name would hardly be known, were it not for the inspiration his friendship provided to that strange and moody genius of Russian music, Modest Mussorgsky. The two had met three years before at the home of their mutual friend, Vladimir Stassov, and had quickly recognized in each other a sympathy of aim and purpose.

Hartmann was part of a growing movement of artists and craftsmen whose aim was to develop a new aesthetic, based on traditional Russian designs and motifs. Eschewing the classical architecture of Europe, Hartmann designed structures based on medieval and contemporary folk styles. And what Hartmann and his colleagues were to architecture, Mili Balakirev and his circle (which included Mussorgsky) were to music.

Mussorgsky was devastated by Hartmann's death. In a letter to Stassov, who was then out of the country, the composer's grief poured out in a spate of wild and bitter words:

    "This is how the wise usually console us blockheads, in such cases; 'He is no more, but what he has done lives and will live'…Away with such wisdom! When 'he' has not lived in vain, but has created - one must be a rascal to revel in the comforting thought that 'he' can create no more. No, one cannot and must not be comforted, there can be and must be no consolation - it is a rotten morality!"

    - from Moussorgsky by Oskar van Riesmann
    translated by Paul England
    Tudor Publishing, 1935

Mussorgsky nonetheless found his consolation or, at least, a certain amount of catharsis. Stassov, on his return to St Petersburg, organized a memorial exhibit in Hartmann's honor, featuring his dead friend's drawings and watercolors. Upon attending this exhibition, which opened early in 1874, Mussorgsky experienced an almost overwhelming torrent of inspiration:

    "Hartmann is bubbling over, just as Boris did. Ideas, melodies, come to me of their own accord, like the roast pigeons in the story - I gorge and gorge and overeat myself. I can hardly manage to put it all down on paper fast enough."

    - from Moussorgsky

From reading the posts here, the parallels in sentiment are striking, and it's clear that many here will find inspiration of one sort or another arising from their sorrow. It's a magic thing, love.

~ Becky in Tucson