String Quartet audiobook
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String Quartet audiobook free
I must have read this brilliant Virginia Woolf short story a dozen times in the last few days, so much like listening to a string quartet, each exposure deepening my appreciation for details, each word and phrase adding color and texture and bestowing life to a torrent of associations. Where does the string quartet music actually begin and end for the narrator in her account of the evenings festivities? Hard to say since the story is told in sensual and turbulent stream of consciousness. We are given hints but only hints, as when we read, Here they come; four black figures, carrying instruments, and seat themselves facing the white squares under the downpour of light; rest the tips of their bows on the music stand; with a simultaneous movement lift them; lightly poise them, and, looking across at the player opposite, the first violin counts one, two, three Flourish, spring, burgeon, burst! Ha! Those last four words are snappers for the eye and, most appropriately considering the storys title, music for the ear. But what exactly is flourishing, springing, burgeoning and bursting? Perhaps the first notes of the first movement of a string quartet, maybe one by Mozart; or, perhaps the narrators mind; or feelings and senses; or some unique combination thereof. And what is her emotional patina? Is she anxious or upset? Reflecting on the narrators gushing torrent of thoughts, as if the press of words were unstoppable, one literary critic writes how this short piece reflects something of Virginia Woolfs bouts with mania, how during one such attack Woolf talked nonstop for three days. There might be an element of truth in the critics observation since, for example, here is a snatch of the narrators mindstream as she listens to the music: But to return. He followed me down the corridor, and, as we turned the corner, trod on the lace of my petticoat. What could I do but cry Ah! and stop to finger it? At which he drew his sword, made passes as if he were stabbing something to death, and cried, Mad! Mad! Mad! Whereupon I screamed, and the Prince, who was writing in the large vellum book in the oriel window, came out in his velvet skull-cap and furred slippers, snatched a rapier from the wallthe King of Spains gift, you knowon which I escaped, flinging on this cloak to hide the ravages to my skirtto hide… For me, the narrators dizzying stream of consciousness points to how what we hear in music, what images emerge, how our emotions are triggered, has so much to do with our frame of mind. How extreme can such a mental and psychic state affect what we hear? Specifically for the narrator of this story, I wouldnt be surprised if the String Quartet is playing Mozart Quartet in D minor but she is hearing music more akin to Iannis Xenakis Tetras.