Dante Defeats Disappointment

Image of Dante by Agnolo Bronzino

Giosuè Carducci (27 July 1835 to 16 February 1907) refused the Dante Chair in Rome because, among other things, he feared its politicisation, no doubt correctly. Yet it must have rankled because Carducci knew what many of the wise knew: that the life and work of Dante Alighieri is a miraculous example to all. In these times of artistic, financial, intellectual and moral bankruptcy, verged on a new theocratic age, it is salutary to consider this extract of Carducci’s poem to Dante: “Dante, how comes it that my vows I pay To thy proud image? Still I meditate The verse…

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Dante’s 750th

October 2, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classical Music, DANTE |

(Elder Hall, Adelaide University, 30/9/15) The Dante Society of SA gave a most agreeable concert to mark the 750th birthday of the Great Florentine, Dante Alighieri (1265-1321).  Professor Diana Glenn gave two readings from The Divine Comedy – first from Paradiso, Canto XXIII, where Beatrice and Dante gaze up at the infinite sunbeams of redeemed souls, and Dante swoons (as he was wont to do). Then Mekhla Kumar (above) performed Liszt’s Sposalizio, inspired by Raphael’s The Marriage of the Virgin. Konstantin Shamray (below) played Liszt’s Dante Sonata with its slightly cartoonish swerve between the hell and heaven, with its different (hellish and celestial) keys…

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August 18, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classical Music, DANTE |

SA Dante Society, 17 August 2015 At the Italian Centre on Monday evening the Society was treated to an early taste of Verdi’s tempestuous, mighty and dramatic requiem mass.  This will be performed with full chorus and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra on 26 and 28 August, as conducted by Timothy Sexton. Maestro Dr Joseph Talia OAM gave a lucid and learned backgrounder, virtually extemporaneously, as to the sources, anxieties and influences on Verdi in the creation of this unique liturgical music, operatic in style and inspired by the life and death of Alessandro Manzoni, whom he revered.  Verdi grappled with the…

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Dante and His World

June 5, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | DANTE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

"Men go to preach, and if they get a laugh their cowls puff up with pride. They ask no more." (Image Giotto, photo Wolfgang Sauber)

(By Thomas Caldecot Chubb) You might call this an inspired remaking of Dante’s life and thought through his art, with the eye of a poet and scholar, on intimate terms with Aretino, Boccaccio, Dante.  Speculation, necessarily, as much as history but highly informed.  We love the cover that tells us not only is Mr Chubb a graduate of Yale, but he “commutes between his home in Greenwich, Connecticut, and his plantation in southern Georgia.”

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May 15, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | DANTE |

"lo gran disio dell' eccellenza" (the great desire of excelling) (Painting by Luca Signorelli)

In his book The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, Jacob Burckhardt wrote as follows: “As publicist and man of letters, [Dante] laid stress on the fact that what he did was new, and that he wished not only to be, but to be esteemed the first in his own walks.  But even in his prose writings he touches on the inconveniences of fame; he knows how often personal acquaintance with famous men is disappointing, and explains how this is due partly to the childish fancy of men, partly to envy, and partly to the imperfections of the hero himself.*…

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