Stanley moved suddenly, sitting up as though to break a spell.  He sat rigid on the edge of the bed, clenching his teeth as though to discipline the activity of his mind, which he could hardly stir during the day when he tried to work.  How could Bach have accomplished all that he did?  and Palestrina?  the Gabrielis? and what of the organ concerti of Corelli?  Those were the men whose work he admired beyond all else in this life, for they had touched the origins of design with recognition.  And how?  with music written for the Church.  Not written with obsessions of copyright foremost; not written to be played by men in worn dinner jackets, sung by girls in sequins, involved in wage disputes and radio rights, recording rights, union rights; not written to be issued through a skull-sized plastic box plugged into the wall as background for seductions and the funnypapers, for arguments over automobiles, personalities, shirt sizes, cocktails, the flub-a-dub of a lonely girl washing her girdle; not written to be punctuated by recommendations for headache remedies, stomach appeasers, detergents, hair oil . . .

William Gaddis, The Recognitions, p.322

9 Responses to “Mr. Gaddis Speaks”
  1. Samuel Vriezen says:

    Re erudition: we all have it now through Google and Wikipedia. Erudition is dead, long live erudition!

  2. David Salvage says:

    I love this website.

  3. Jerry Bowles says:

    From Postscards From a Life, An (Alas) Unpublished Retrospective Diary by Jerry Bowles

    When the Equitable Tower opened just north of Times Square in 1986, Seventh Avenue was still the Wild West for commercial real estate so the developers knew they would have to offer a lot of amenities to justify the Park Avenue rents they wanted to charge.

    Part of the added-value came in the form of art—an enormous Roy Lichtenstein painting in the lobby, the very famous Tomas Hart Benton Depression-era mural “America Today” (since removed) on a side wall, giant Sol LeWitt murals on the east wall of the building facing a delightful, little pedestrian alleyway bordered by British sculptor Barry Flanagan’s sculptures of an elephant with a monkey on his back on the 52nd Street side and a spaced-out rabbit on the 51st Street entrance.

    Perhaps, most uniquely, the sponsors set out to create three “instant” world-class restaurants within a few yards of each other on the property by offering long-term sweetheart leases to some already successful restaurateurs. Most prominent of these
    were Gilbert and Maguy Le Coze, a then young brother and sister team from Brittany who had taken toute le Paris by storm with their magic with fish at a restaurant called Le Bernardin. Gilbert was essentially self-taught although he was encouraged by the man, himself, Joel Robuchon I had dinner at the original Bernardin in 1984 and if my memory serves, it was then located on Bd Haussman, in the Seventh arrondisement or perhaps lower Eighth. Anyway, it was five minute or so taxi ride from the Hotel Raphael at 22 Avenue Kleber.

    I recall a memorable Dover Sole and Puligny Montrechet, with my friend Madame Tourvel and a school chum of hers named Matthew Gaddis, whose father, William, was perhaps America’s most famous unknown novelist in those circles where Saul Bellow and Philip Roth are considered top of the line. Matthew was then working for Louis Malle and Candice Bergen and I remember him saying that they were so in love that romantic music spontaneously surged into rooms when they walked in. But, I digress. The Le Cozes moved to New York and within a year or so had made the NY version of Le Bernardin one of the best restaurants in town and it remains so to this day although Gilbert died several years ago, quite young.

    Louis Malle and William Gaddis are dead, too.

  4. Tom Izzo says:

    Coincidentally, Randy Nordschow posted something about truth in
    music just this morning at newmusic box, which relates to some of
    the comments that have been posted here.

  5. bdr says:

    The novel is about counterfeiting. Maybe Gaddis DID do his research.

    As for the the conversation in the previous post, Harry, in the first line of Gaddis’ *Frolic* says –

    “Justice? – You get justice in the next world, in this world you have the law.”

  6. Seth Gordon says:

    Composers should consider including more lies in their music.

    Ha! I dig.

    “An artist is usually a damned liar, but his art, if it be art, will tell you the truth of his day.” – DH Lawrence

  7. Daniel says:

    If Gaddis is writing fiction, he is welcome to include all the mistakes he wishes. It’s his book, his fiction.

    Composers should consider including more lies in their music.

  8. David Salvage says:

    Oh pish posh — there’s so much else to enjoy in Gaddis. Don’t let the occasional factual misstep spoil your appreciation. If today’s authors had half his erudition, contemporary literature would be much more exciting.

  9. Yet another example where even the slightest bit of musical research on the part of the author could eliminate mistakes — such as the fact that there is not a single organ concerto among Corelli’s small output. Considering the painstaking research that most writers would do before “daring” to list some detail from the world of sciences, it continues to be amazing how lax they usually are about anything musical.