The 4th floor of Augustinerstrasse #64 is a tardis. Like Dr. Who's time traveling home, it is much larger on the inside than it appears from the outside. Number 64 is the address of the Musiksammlung der Natinalbibliothek Österreichs.
Looking back I believe Philip, my husband and favorite traveling companion, needed to go to Vienna. He didn't know it, but he did. Philip is a graduate of Indiana University School of Music in trombone. (Which of course means that now he fixes computers to keep the cats in kibble and me in pork chops and champagne.) But still a hot shot musician, now as a singer, he needed to go to Vienna.
Being of orderly mind, Philip had to have a reason to leave the pleasant confines of Adams Point and submit his 6 foot frame to 13 hours in a plane. But his first response was unconvincing. "You want me to go, you want to go so, we'll go." "No," I objected "you're a classical musician and should go to the city that is one of its wellsprings. Besides, if we go to Vienna, we can take a sideline to Linz and visit Bruckner." (Say the magic word and the duck comes down. It's well known that Philip loves Bruckner.) And in the end, the reason he gave himself to visit Vienna was to read the fragments of Bruckner's unfinished 9th symphony.
So on our first full day in the city of song, we bundled up for the weather was lousy, and headed down the Kärntner Str. to get Euros and then to the Augustinerstrasse. The building is about a block and a half long with many addresses and all are being or have been refurbished. The famous rathaus cum restaurant at #21 had just had its facelift when we went looking for #64. Our destination was hard to find because the exterior wall was still being sand blasted and the number was gone. Finally we found it, went through the doorway, crossed the dusty mezzanine and took the new elevator to the fourth floor.
I must confess, I was expecting a beautiful, marble halled repository, like the Library of Congress or the New York Public Library. After all, we were entering the sanctuary of the greatest music in Europe. (Philip, having worked in the IU Music Library, had no such illusions.) We went down a hall, hung our jackets and umbrella on the coat rack, and walked through the open doors to the plain main reading room, a rectangle with five large library tables across the middle. On the right was the librarian's cubby-hole with a long pass through and steel racks that held grey, portentous, non-acid boxes. Philip signed in and asked how he could access the fragments. The librarian did not ask for any bona fides other than his passport for identification. Anyone may read the microfilms of the great treasures that are controlled by the library; all you need is the time to order the film, which takes about twenty-four hours. If you want access to an original manuscript, application to the library director is required but authorization is not difficult. If we had been in Vienna for a month, Philip would have been able to read the very pages from Bruckner's hand.
The card catalogues are in a smaller, even more cramped and low-at-the-heels space than the reading room. The cards themselves are hand-written. But those cards are the keys to wonderful things, an entire universe of music. Philip ordered the fragments and we went out to the cold, overcast day. The Musiksammlung der Nationalbibliothek is magic.
The following Monday we left for Linz, got the 10:30 am from the West Bahnhof and settled down for the two hour trip. Our westbound train took us through Europe's Kentucky, the dark and bloody ground. Armies raged for centuries over the watershed of the upper Donau.
But now we were under the spell of sunny, clear, gorgeous weather and it seems the most beautiful, comfortable place that anyone can imagine. In high Autumn the fields were still lush, the linden and alder still green. We passed dachas and little schlossen. The perfectly kept kitchen gardens were still some hours away from harvest. Though fresh flowers are the most important product of those gardens, Spring onions and radishes come a close second.
As we got off the train in Linz we had to decide whether to go to the cathedral and the Bruckner house in the middle of town, or out to St. Florian. The great man's crypt draws us and so we crossed the street to the terminal and picked up the bus to St. Florian. We got off at the Abbey stop, walked up a hill through echt, cozy upper-Austria and came to the Abbey whose white exterior walls with plaster ornamentation set off a darling local cemetery. (You know how I love those.)
Bruckner was a great fan of St. Florian, and the brothers who ran it returned the favor.
As with many great sacred spaces, the front doors of the Abbey church are opened only on special occasions. We had to enter through the right-hand door and there were greeted by a large corkboard with pictures of babies that had been born to the parish so far that year. Directly on our right was the parish announcement and information board. This church is not a museum frozen in time, it is a living, growing congregation in an historic house.
Between the vestibule and the sanctuary is a gorgeous wrought-iron screen with three gates, one for each aisle. In the floor of the vestibule, right under the middle of the organ balcony above, is a large, handsome floor-memorial to Anton Bruckner; his sarcophagus is directly below in the crypt.
The church of St. Florian is a country Baroque church. White walls, lots of memorials and chapels up both side aisles, this church is grand, eclectic and well loved. From the middle of the transept you turn around, face the front door and look up at that organ. This is Bruckner's living memorial. Played everyday and incorporated in every service, no better monument to the composer is possible. The organ itself is white with rich gold leaf accents. It is 3/4 as long and 2/3 as deep as the balcony. The choir is beyond the transept on either side of the altar and coordinating between the two, with the extra added attraction of a 1.5 second reverb, must be a real treat.
Anton Bruckner is a son of St. Florian, the town and the Abbey. He sang in its choir as a child, he taught mathematics for a living and played this great organ for the glory of God and the joy of his Augustinian friends. He never married and was very uncomfortable in great society. He admired Brahms and Wagner yet went his own way. He traveled all the way to England for Prince Albert's Great Exhibition and played the organ of the Crystal Palace. (The British loved him and sat entranced for hours as he improvised.) Philip too, loves, admires and is fascinated by Anton Bruckner. The depth and breadth of Bruckner's symphonic invention never ceases to enthrall him.
We asked in the Abbey's museum shop if we could still get on the 4:30 tour of the crypt itself. "Well," said the nice lady, "we do a end of day tour but not for fewer than ten people." Alas, there were not ten people. So Philip did not see the grave of the great man, but he found him none the less. Our heroes come to us in different ways. I found Clive Staples Lewis on the Deer Walk in Oxford. Standing in the transept of the Abbey Church of St. Florian, Philip found Anton Bruckner.
I went to Lipofsky's opening last night. There are all kinds of ways to make a buck and Marvin's figured one out where people pay him to make beautiful glass and travel around the world. Congratulations.! (Oh, where were the Nathan's? They were serving little shells with crab and stuff.)
7/9/03 There's now a sign at Acme Bread that says something like -- I paraphrase, summarize, and interpret a little. Gee neighbors, please don't jump our fence and take the food we throw away. Neighbors, we just can't be sure it's still good. So, please don't take the food we throw away.
What's really nice about bicycling is that it takes place in Edwardian time.
7/8/03 Yesterday was Monday, so it must have been " 'chemically plastic' and had a hint of 'chlorine' " time. Indeed it was in the 2700 block on 8th Street around noon.
Last night about 7:00 PM I took a bicycle-ride around Potter Creek and was amazed and heartened at the use-mix. But appalling was the odor surrounding the building under construction on the southwest corner of 7th and Grayson. It is best described as "obnoxious printers-ink." Even though all doors of the building were closed the odor enveloped the corner. Just across the street, and downwind, is the new Travlin' Joe's Cafe with outdoor seating, and down the street is V & W's showroom, Uncommon Grounds roastery, and the Saffron Caffe. And, a new high density project is being built south of the Victor's
I seriously question the wisdom of Berkeley zoning that allows heavy industry immediately next to, and upwind from, this mixed-use area; an area more and more being developed into live, work-live, work, office, and commercial space with a higher and higher density.
Among other things, my Miscellaneous Ramblings has the Lüchow's German Pancake (Pfannkuchen) recipe. Aleksandar, a reader from Europe suggested I look at his Austro-Hungarian version -- Palachinken.
7/7/03 Mid-afternoon last Tuesday I got more of my Monday's "chemically plastic with hint of chlorine" emission. On Tuesday it was on 8th between Grayson and Heinz. (The wind was almost directly from the west.) Thursday in the same area I found a similar, stronger odor mixed in with a smell of "printers-ink." The block of 8th between Grayson and Heinz is almost all houses.
Sunday, bicycling behind the new construction on southwest corner of 7th and Grayson, I found a parking lot with the same "printers-ink" smell I noticed in the air last week. (GMC pick-up trucks are to bicyclist what Volvo station wagons are to motorcyclists.)
After my last-Monday's-about-emissions "For a moment, I thought that I was in some shit-hole industrial town," a regular Berkeley reader offered about our Potter Creek area "Bad news, you are in some $#*@ hole town, . . . "
After much recent travel in northwest Emeryville and southwest Berkeley, including a good ten hours by bicycle, it is my sense that Emeryville has much cleaner air than Berkeley, leaving Berkeley ahead of its southern neighbor in areas like the number of signs declaring the municipality a nuclear free zone.
As a teenager I missed the Doo-Wop movement for reasons I don't now remember. But the era was firmly brought back as I listened to"Street Corner Essentials," Hip-O 314 556 264-2. This is a great 2 CD collection of the best-known and less-known Doo-Wop singles. You can order this set from DBA Brown. The store is at 6095 Claremont and their phone number is 547-8133. Harvey Jordan, one of the owners, worked with me in records at Moe's.
More almost-gourmet food at 20% to 40% off can be found at "the Canned Food Store" -- The Grocery Outlet just off of University Ave at about 6th Street. At the moment you can find Edy's Grand Ice Cream, Strawberry Cupcake at a good savings.
My neighbors in the 2800 block of 8th had their car stolen the on night of July 4th.
Here are the recent crimes-committed and arrests for Beat 15.
"In Postwar Iraq, the Battle Widens" from The Washington Post is at MSBC.com
"WHEN in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.
WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness -- That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security. Such has been the patient Sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the Necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The History of the present King of Great- Britain is a History of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid World."
Amendment I Congress
shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom
of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably
to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Amendment II A
well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free
State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house,
without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a
manner to be prescribed by law.
Amendment IV The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Amendment V No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Amendment VI In all criminal prosecutions,
the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial,
by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime
shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously
ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause
of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against
him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his
favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
Amendment VII In suits at common law,
where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the
right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by
a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United
States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Amendment VIII Excessive bail shall not
be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual
Amendment IX The enumeration in the Constitution,
of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage
others retained by the people.
Amendment X The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.