How Does One Answer the Following Question??
Well, to begin with, I feel that this question can never be answered, at least from my perspective, as the numbers of defining historical figures form a bottomless pit.
But I find myself in virtually endless argumentation with myself by pointing out the reasons I would NOT, as well as would be willing to be in conversation with giants I have thought about; in other words, a game of sorts with my own reactions.
As an example, in the world of music, which is the world I chose as my first choice in life, I immediately thought of Mozart, whose raw talents have yet to be matched.
In consideration of this unparalleled composer's attainment level, in a brief life of 35 years; a composer having written all but the last half-dozen of his 41 symphonies by age 31, with Beethoven just completing his 1st symphony at the same age, my primary reaction was how thrilling it might be to discuss issues with Mozart.
But then I thought back to his letters and other primary source aspects and realized that the level of intellectual curiosity about the world around him was really quite limited; truly an organism created to produce great music, and nothing much more - well, I sense that he might actually be interesting in conversation for just a short period. I cannot be sure that he might have had sufficient eloquence in his projections to carry on a lengthy conversation. And so ( alas), I disqualified my first subject.
I think, now that I have set the tone for the way I wrestled with Mozart, I can be a bit more brief about my thoughts concerning this question.
Please allow me to interject the reality that I fully expect disagreement with any number of my arguments, as this question can be only a game among all of us who may be given a question of this sort.
Beethoven may have been more interesting to talk with, as a child of the growing Enlightenment, with derision of, let alone hatred of authority, royalty or the like, and the Jeffersonian principles he applied in his music, to represent the vocabulary of human emotion in his work simply because it exists; to unshackle this language, allows me to seriously consider wanting to listen to what he had to say.
Or Liszt; above Chopin, Schumann or his other famous musical contemporaries - looking at the dimensions created by this new device; namely, Theme Transformation, which he inculcated in his one Sonata, and the methods through intellectual design, almost like a scientist, that coalesced in this gigantic work, prompt me to want to have listened to Liszt and the workings of his mind in a conversational format.
I will continue with this subject in consequent blogs, with your permission.
Labels: a question about greatness