Sunday, November 09, 2014

Whereof one cannot speak, Thereof one must be silent

The solution of the problem of life is seen in the vanishing of this problem.
The riddle does not exist.
If a question can be put at all, then it can also be answered.
For doubt can only exist where there is a question; a question only where there is an answer, and this only when something can be said.
Whereof one cannot speak, Thereof one must be silent.
That photo of the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing was taken by me a few weeks ago when driving home across the Somme battlefields in northern France. The Thiepval Memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, and the quotation is from Ludwig Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus which was set as a motet by the architect's daughter Elisabeth Lutyens. Nicknamed 'twelve-tone Lizzie', Elisabeth Lutyens is another candidate who meets Alex Ross' criteria of "Instead of trying to invent a female Bach in prior centuries, let’s seek her in the present". Her Excerpta Tractatus Logico-Philosophici addresses in a different but equally powerful way the same riddle as Britten explores in his War Requiem, and the motet deserves to be heard rather than languishing in obscurity. There is more on Elisabeth Lutyens in Walking with Stravinsky.

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1 comment:

Pliable said...

One of the names on the Thiepval Memorial is that of the composer George Butterworth who died in action on the Somme in 1916. He was killed near Thiepval, but, like many others, his body was never recovered.