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next book club reading

Discussion in 'General' started by pianolady, May 9, 2009.

  1. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Wow, chapter 5 was a quite long one, but very captivating. At first, Humphreys family goes to Milan by train and Sam reads the book about Laszlo Magyar. At this place we get to know much about the life of our mysterious Hungarian composer. Really a very strange guy and it would be interesting to compare with aspects of Liszts life, but I think there are many differences, isn´t it?
    His deadly accident (to trip in front of a tram) is also quite odd IMO, but not impossible, of course, really weird is the fact, that his head is conserved and his two hands have vanished and nobody knows, what happened with them. The accident happened in a surburb of Düsseldorf. (BTW, in former times I have lived nearby Düsseldorf.) For me it´s interesting, that the places of the plot of our novel seem to be all in Europe and Russia (there is mentioned a nun in the Ural, isn´t it?) until now. Also in "The pianoshop on the left bank" most of the plot takes part in Europe, though both authors, William Sleator and Thad Carhart, are Americans. That´s a remarkable analogy, isn´t it?
    The author of the strange biography of Laszlo Magyar - which is not only a biography, but it contains also a breakdown of each piece of Magyar - claims to be a descendant of Maygar. I suppose it´s the same odd old man, who did know about Lucs correction of the b flat, because in this chapter he knows about Lucs correction of the c-sharp-major-chord, which is clear an analogy. Probably he has put the book into the compartment. He always seems to be aware, even in the hotel in Milan, when Sam has to fetch some food for the family, Sam bumps into an old man, who he does not recognize, but who has a "peculiar medicinal smell", which was "faintly familiar" to Sam. I´m not so sure, to what refers this "medicinal smell". Is it a hint to the head of the dead Magyar, which is conserved in formaldehyde or did the old man in the previous chapters also have such a "medicinal smell"? I don´t remember, I have to admit.
     
  2. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I just finished the chapter 5 also.

    Yes - some interesting things going on here. As to our comparing Magdar to Liszt - we know that Liszt was very much into gypsy music, so here is another similarity. I don't remember if Liszt was an illegitimate child (like Madgar) or not, but his own daughter (Cosima) either was considered illegitimate for a time because of Marie D''Agoult not being divorced yet, or maybe Cosima herself had an illiegitimate child with Wagner before she was divorced from, from, from....argh...can't remember his name now.

    Anyway, that old man - Andreas, you may be on to something about saying that he is the author of that Magyar book. But in my weird way, I thought it was Magyar himself! Like the ghost Magyar. I dunno....I could be way off with this - your idea makes more sense. I guess we'll find out soon.

    And you're right - that medicinal smell is something I don't remember reading about before, either. Hmmm...

    But at the end - that C-sharp chord thing. What do you make of that? How would that old man know about Sam writing it, and Luc changing it? Only if he is a ghost, is what I'm thinking again. Boo! :lol:

    On to chapter...
     
  3. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hans von Bulow! (I just remembered that name :lol:)

    Chapter 6 – Sam is feeling pretty disturbed over seeing that old man again, but no one else seems to care about it. So after reading up on Magyars days with the gypsies, he almost throws the book away but changes his mind.

    Now the family is in Geneva. Sam is unsure of his participating in the scam but continues doing his part of writing the scores. They drug Humphrey the usual way but his behavior at the end – what he says is shocking! How could he have known about that? (I’m not putting it into words here so as not to spoil it)

    You ever play 20 questions, Andreas and Nathan? I remember playing it with my brother and sister when we were going on long car trips. It was something to pass the time, but I’m not crazy about the game, really.
     
  4. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Liszt was the legitimate child of Adam and Maria Anna Liszt, a born Lager. Cosima first married Hans von Bülow, a famous pianist and conductor, who first was a friend of Richard Wagner. Then Cosima fall in love with Wagner and he returned her love. The marriage with Hans v. Bülow was divorced and Cosima married Wagner in 1870 in Lucerne. First they lived in Tribschen (Lake Lucerne in Switzerland), later in Bayreuth. I have visited Wagners house in Tribschen as I was on holidays in Switzerland.

    Yikes! Don´t affraight me![​IMG] :lol:

    Of course, you are right, these can only be ulterior incidents. But a real living person as what the old man is described in our novel can´t be a ghost, only something like a medium for a ghost. The old man could be such a medium IMO.

    I have read chapter 6. Well, it seems as if the ghost of Magyar has begun to take possession also of Humphrey. Still in chapter 5 his reaction of the comic scene with the two witches was strange. But now at the end he seems to know something, which Sam had read before in the biography of Magyar. The two dried hands wrapped in old rags are exactly, what the hurted stranger had left "as a token of his appreciation" to Magyar and his mother, since they had nursed him to health.
    The old man does not appear again in this chapter, but nevertheless this chapter is sinister, because of Humphreys weird behaviour and all the eldritch stories of the gypsy crone, which are told in the book of Magyar.
    So for me there is raised up another question: has Humphrey read in the book about Magyar without that Sam knew it and does he play theatre? (Nothing is said about this in chapter 6, but he only can have get to know about the two hands wrapped in rags by reading in the biography of Magyar.) Or is Humphrey really obsessed by the ghost of Magyar?

    What do you think?
     
  5. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    But if I remember correctly, didn’t Cosima conceive a child with Wagner when she was still married to Bulow?

    I suppose you are right – but I still have this funny feeling that the old man is really Magyar. Remember something in that biography that said the he did not age? That he still looked 25 years old when he was really 50, or something like that?

    I’m a little confused – I did not read that the stranger in the biography left the two hands wrapped in the rags. I thought we did not know what was actually inside the rags. Maybe I missed that?

    I don’t think Humphrey read the book yet, and I do think this ghost business is for real. Maybe chapter 7 will shed some more light.

    Speaking of that – I may not be able to read chapter 7 and comment about it until tomorrow night. I have 25 family members coming over today for dinner. It's Father's Day in the US today so I'm hosting the party.
     
  6. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Yes, that´s right. For a while she lived a "double relationship" (german: Doppelbeziehung) and she betrayed Bülow with Wagner. In 1865 she has give birth to Isolde. At this time she was still married with Hans von Bülow. 1867 she leaved v. Bülow and went with Wagner to Tribschen at the Lake Lucerne. In 1870 her marriage with v. Bülow was divorced and she married in the same year Richard Wagner in Lucerne. She meat Wagner 1862 in Wiesbaden-Biebrich (it´s nearby where I live) in the time he worked on his "Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg". In 1863 she and Wagner confessed her love. In summer 1864 she made a journey with her daughters into the Pallet´sches Landhaus am Starnberger See. In the same year they went to Munich (the whole family v. Bülow and Wagner), where Cosima became something like a "secretary" of Wagner and she won also the trust of Ludwig II. of Bayern, which was Wagners patron. Cosima became very old. She died in 1930 and became over 90 years old. (Wagner still died in 1883.) She still meat Adolf Hitler, who was a regular guest in the Villa Wahnfried. Winifred Wagner explained, that Hitler saw in the Wagners his "true family" and Cosima supported him, too.

    I shall look, if the two hands where still mentioned in the gipsy-tale of the stranger. I´m not sure at this moment, too.
    At wednesday we have our school-concert and before I have many things to do. May be I´ll find some time tomorrow in the evening for chapter 7. After wednesday I´ll have more time to read again.
    See you later...
     
  7. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    On page 89 you can read, that "the stranger had left the rag-wrapped package as a token of his appreciation. Apparently Magyar always kept it with him. But the biographer, despite a long and obsessive search, could find no indication anywhere of what it was the rags contained."
    So, in chapter 6 in the tale of the crone we don´t yet know, that there are two hands in the rags. So, indeed it´s very strange, that at the end of chapter 6 he knows about the two hands, since he even can´t have that information, if he would have read the biography of Magyar. But in chapter 7 Sam convinces as with several reasons, that Humphrey couldn´t have read the book.

    Today in the morning I had a free lesson and I have read chapter 7:
    Sams warnings to the family, that strange things are going on with Humphrey, are not successful. Sam wants to stop the whole cheating, but Bridget doesn´t want to stop it. So, she orders to continue. Humphreys career is getting a recovery and he arranges for a new concert in Vienne and at the end there is the old man again. And he tells us that "he has the hands". I suppose with "he" the old man means Humphrey. So, indeed it could be, that the old man is Magyar himself or a medium of the ghost of Magyar. BTW, the author of the biography of Magyar is described as a descendant of Magyar. It could also be the old man, isn´t it. So, at this point of the plot we have three possibilities of who the old man could be:
    1. Maygar himself (like you said), 2. a medium of the ghost of Magyar and he could be also 3. the author of Magyars biography. If 3. is right, it´s in every case in combination either of 3. + 1. or 3. + 2., am I right? Or it´s only the first or the second possibility without 3.
    What do you think? It´s really captivating at this point of the plot IMO, isn´t it?
     
  8. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I still think the old man is Magyar. But your idea of him being the author of the biography is good too. I have not read chapter 8 yet, but I hope to do so later today. Yes – this plot is captivating!!
     
  9. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Andreas - I wish you well at your school concert tomorrow! :)
     
  10. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thank you, Monica, that´s very nice of you! Today at 19 o´clock it starts. Tomorrow I shall continue to read in our book (chapter 8 ) .
     
  11. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Ok, Andreas - I hope you survived your concert. Please tell me how it went.


    Just finished reading chapter 8.

    The family is in Vienna now preparing for more concerts. Humphrey is acting stranger all the time and Sam doesn't like it. But still Sam writes out more piano pieces for Humphrey, except now Humphrey argues about a certain note in one of the compositions. Sam wants to change it, but Humphrey won't allow it. Sam tells Luc that he better make Humphrey change the note or else....

    So not much else happens in this chapter until the very end - Sam finds a bundle wrapped in rags lying on his bed. Must be the severed hands, right? I hope we find out soon!!!
     
  12. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hi Monica,
    thank you for your kind sympathies for my school-concert. Yipiee, I have survived it! :eek: :lol:
    Now seriously, it was real good concert, most of the pieces went very well (apart from quite little slips).
    I have conducted the film-music of "The Lord of the Rings" by Howard shore, from the second part ("The two towers") and the third ("The Return of the King"). I like this symphonic music very much. Our school-orchestra consists of 26 players and we have all important instruments exept tuba and oboe at this moment. And we have only one viola, the other voices for viola I had to arrange for a third violin, because we only have one viola-player, but much more violinists.
    It was a great pleasure to study and to conduct this music. Though to study it sometimes was also quite hard work. But if the end-result is a great success, it was to be worth the work. The pupils like to play this music and it´s quite popular. At the end we had a great applause.
    With my little wind-ensemble (2 trumpets, 2 clarinets, 1 trombone, 1 bassoon) I have performed three arrangements: Mazeltov (a folk song), a valse by Poulenc, which is original for piano and the "dance of sabre" (Säbeltanz) by Aram Chatchaturjan.
    And I have accompanied a little musical for children on the piano, which my colleague has studied with her lower grade choir. This was also a great fun.

    After our concert I have partied with my pupils until mid-night. At the morning I had to stand up at 6 o´clock. But who needs to sleep, if he is happy with some really good and nice pupils. :wink:

    In our next Christmas-concert we will study an arrangement of Schuberts symphony nr. 8 (b-minor, The Unfinished, first and second movement). We have made it quite to a tradition, that in summer we play some film-music and in winter a classical orchestra-work.

    Thank you for the information about chapter 8. I´m sorry, but I will be able to continue to read only tomorrow, because this evening I still have something to prepare for my german lesson tomorrow. But I´m very curious to read further and can´t wait for it.
     
  13. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I'm glad your concert was a success, Andreas!

    Regarding the lack of a tuba in your group – my family and I every year play Christmas songs together with our instruments. My brother used to play the tuba part on his bass trombone, but he is no longer living so now my niece plays the tuba part on an electric keyboard. It sounds good because it helps to have that low bass to ground the music.

    I know that piece, Sabre Dance. I don’t know if you remember this, but we once had a member who submitted a recording of it. His name was Setrak and he was a real jerk. He one time reprimanded me because I told him his music sounded like it was too good to be true. Turns out that it was – he faked it and all the other pieces he tried to pull off as his own. Robert and Chris got rid of him right away.


    That’s a funny way of saying that, but it’s pretty much exactly what one has to do after they have awakened.


    A couple years ago I read a novel that was about a young woman who was not a very good pianist but suddenly became a great pianist when the ghost of Schubert took over her body. In the end, the ghost showed the woman where he had hidden his ‘Unfinished Symphony’.



    No rush, Andreas – we have all the time in the world.

    Hopefully!!

    Now I just thought of John again and feel really sad. He was a nice friend, but you are too. You talk with me, help me, answer my questions, give me advice, joke with me, send me things….I really appreciate you and I’m glad you have come into my life – even if it is only through our computers, which is fine because I wouldn’t have met you or John otherwise. Friends mean a lot to me, because I don’t make friends that easily. Sorry – I’m getting mushy – can’t stop thinking about John. But I’m sure glad to have our little reading project to help occupy my mind. I don’t practice well when I’m sad - can’t see the music with tears in my eyes. Ohhhhh sorry, again – more mush. I’ll try to be in a better mood tomorrow.
     
  14. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thanks, Monica! :)

    I do also replace the tuba and the horn with a stage-piano. Of course, this sounds not as well as real instruments do, but it´s better than to have not these instruments.

    No, I don´t remember, but I have experienced, that there are jerks on the world not a long time ago, as you know (I´m talking of the nasty comments on youtube I have received recently.)


    Sorry for my word-by-word-translation, MOnica. I think, this was a too similar translation to the german expression "aufstehen" (=stand up). In german you say: Ich stehe um 6 Uhr morgens auf. (=I do stand up at 6 o´clock in the morning, if you translate it word by word.) The right way to express it in English is: I do get up at 6 o´clock in the morning, isn´t it?

    Very interesting, may be that could be our next book club reading? What is the title of this book?


    I have answered you in a privat e-mail to this.

    And I have read chapter 8. Yes, it´s interesting, that Sam does find some wrapped hands. Humphreys behaviour becomes stranger and stranger, isn´t it? But all chapter 8 doesn´t bring too much new information. So, I´m curious on chapter 9 now, which I´ll read tomorrow, I think.
     
  15. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I read chapter 9 last night, but I've forgotten what I read and so I have to read it again. I'll comment on it tomorrow.

    I am still shocked at what you said about Bohumir Stehlik and his comments on Youtube! I don't think I will ever again speak with him or put up his recordings on PS. One of the other admins will have to do it.

    Also - I get up at 6:00 in the morning, but more often 5:30 in the summertime. Something about that the sun shines in my window earlier and so I just wake up. It doesn't matter what time I go to sleep, I still wake up at the same time.
     
  16. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Ok, wow - a lot happened in chapter 9. Andreas, I don't want to spoil it if you haven't read it yet. I'll just say that Sam is in big trouble, but so is Humphrey.
     
  17. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thank you, that you stick by me, though I have to add, that Bohumir Stehlik wrote "only" one longer insulting and only negative critique to my 2nd version of Scherzo no. 3, not several (just because you wrote the plural "comments"). In this one nasty comment he didn´t write one positive word, but only how unmusical and how bad it is, how blocked I am and how many technical problems I have, the other 10 nasty comments came from another user named homerboy488 (http://www.youtube.com/user/homerboy488). And these contained a lot of cuss words like "you are an asshole" or "a jerk" and much more of this "nice stuff". Is this homerboy eventually a friend of Bohumir Stehlik? I don´t know and I absolutely don´t know, who this homerboy488 is, I never have had anything to do with him, and I don´t know his real name. For me this whole story is as mysterious as our novel is at this moment.
    I really also don´t know, what reason Bohumir Stehlik could have to attac me like this. Wether I know him nor have I wrote one word to one of his recordings. I found it to be very coward of Bohumir Stehlik to write such a negative comment on youtube, it would have been much braver, if he would have written it on PS in my thread. But I suppose, he knows, how obnoxious he would make himself with such a comment here. However, my Scherzo isn´t so bad, that it doesn´t deserve any positive word. (And even if it would be, such a comment would be also very unpolite and unadequate, because we all here play just for pleasure and for free and we invest a lot of time [and money for the recording-equipment] for preparing our recordings. So, if I absolutely don´t like the interpretation of someone, and in my case it could be only mainly the interpretation, what could have disturbed him, because I care very much for the text of the score, one should keep his mouth, nobody is forced to listen to someone, whos interpretation he absolutely doesn´t like) You know, I´m a friend of critical advices and factual critics, which are based on the score. But nasty comments I just delete on youtube and I do block the user, who writes them (one has this option on youtube). I find it to be too silly to start a "battle of cuss words" there or anywhere else.
    I personally consider Bohumir Stehlik as someone, who isn´t a member of this site, because a member of this nice site shouldn´t behave so nastily. I have nothing more to say to him.

    Wow, that´s really very early. I usually do sleep until 8 or 9 in the morning at the weekend, if noone wakes me up.

    This evening I´ll read chapter 9. I´m curious.
     
  18. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I have read chapter 9. This was very captivating. Sam reveals the secret to Humphrey in a mood of concern and anger. Humphrey runs out of the room, because he feels deeply hurted and destroyed, of course. Bridget is very angry about Sam and wants to punish him severly. She closes up the door of the hotel room from outside, so that Sam is imprisoned in it. This for Sam still is a big punishment, because he wants to help his half-brother, but he can´t. He is in a big struggle of feelings. He discovers to love Humphrey and he is desperated enormously, because he can´t help him.
    I think, it´s important somehow, that the hands in the bundle are no real hands, but seem to be cut off from an old doll. But nevertheless the situation is strange, because there seems to be someone else apart from the family, who knows about the details of Magyars life.
    The plot still remains mysterious at this point. I don´t know the solution, that´s what makes it so captivating, isn´t it?
     
  19. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Yes, those fake hands was a surprise! I have no idea who could have put them there. Except maybe that old man, wherever he is. I can't wait to see what happens in chapter 10, so I'm going to read it right now before I go off on my run.
     
  20. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Tomorrow I will have some conferences at school with longer times to wait between. (We are preparing the school reports, because the year ends on 10.7.09 here. Then the summer-holidays will begin. I´ll try to read further while I´m waiting for the next conference. So, it will not be bored. :wink:
     

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