Wednesday, February 19, 2020

An Apocalyptic Dream

Robert Boyd

I dreamed I was living through a societal collapse. Things were breaking down and not getting repaired, and people were just dealing with it as well as they could. A slow-motion apocalypse. In this environment, I was trying to organize my various family members into a string quartet. Why this seemed like an important thing to do, I don't know. It was a bit of dream logic.

But when I thought about it, I was reminded of the story of Quatuor pour la fin du temps by Olivier Messiaen. He was interned in Stalag VIII-A after being captured at the beginning of World War II. He composed this startling music in the camp and premiered it there in the rain before an audience of prisoners and guards. It must have seemed to listeners like a tiny piece of culture in the face of the end of civilization. As the USA continues its slow motion collapse, we still need art to be created, even when is seems at times like a frivolous indulgence.

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