A stupid death

This week I hap­pened to learn of the death of Jóhann Jóhanns­son, an influ­en­tial com­pos­er of this so-called mod­ern era. I say “by chance” because his death occurred two years ago. Stu­pid­ly, one might say. Cocaine and cold med­i­cine don’t seem to go well togeth­er. This is both a tragedy and a non-event. How many peo­ple appear and dis­ap­pear like this on this dizzy­ing plan­et ? One might say it is a pity because the man was only forty-eight years old and had so much more to cre­ate. But what do we know at the end of the day ? Is it not the case with shoot­ing stars that if they are mar­velous, it is because they are ephemer­al and luminous ?

Jóhannsson’s work can­not be lis­tened to for long before one falls into a kind of monas­tic lethar­gy. Many of his works can be heard to like vine­gar mixed with wine, in small, inspir­ing doses.

And the old­er I get, the more I seem to breathe the same way, try­ing to feed myself with some opi­um by liv­ing dan­ger­ous­ly close to the noisy cliff of nothingness.

How did the com­pos­er real­ly die ? Would he have been sur­prised to sud­den­ly find him­self gasp­ing for breath after sniff­ing his line ? Had he ingest­ed so much of the sub­stance that he now had to fight chron­ic sinus defects ? Was this genius suf­fer­ing from an unfath­omable evil and that, in the end, this sim­ple acci­den­tal mix­ture of sub­stances was actu­al­ly an invol­un­tary sui­cide ? We’ll nev­er know ? Astrologers will say that he had a Vir­go Sun con­junct Plu­to. That’s unfor­giv­able in terms of inten­si­ty. It’s a caul­dron of mon­strous, danc­ing lava and incan­des­cent possibilities.

Peo­ple die any­time, any­how. It’s the law of num­bers that allows human­i­ty to move for­ward on its path.

In his mem­o­ry, a string quar­tet, the Echo Col­lec­tive, took over his music by rid­ding it of the elec­troa­coustics that sur­round­ed the com­pos­er. It can be lis­tened to like a prayer in the mid­dle of an autumn field. Melan­choly is a beau­ti­ful thing for those who know how to rec­og­nize it and drink it.

Jóhanns­son remains for me the com­pos­er of Odi and Amo, based on a poem by Cat­ul­lus. I had the begin­ning of this poem inscribed as an “exer­gue” to Falaise.

Odi and Amo. Quare id faci­am, for­t­asse requiris. Nescio, sed fieri sen­tio et excrucior.

I hate and I love. How is this pos­si­ble ? You may ask your­self… I don’t know, but I feel it, and it is tormenting.


  • Diane

    Diane %2020/%08/%15 %15:%Aug 0

    Beau texte comme toujours. J’ai trouvé aussi la musique très belle mais qui vient chercher une tristesse en nous.