Thursday, November 05, 2009
Structure & Sadness
Take a moment to remember Claude Lévi-Strauss, a social scientist who took music seriously, indeed as a model for the discernment of structure in cultural artifacts that do not speak for themselves. In turn, the work of Lévi-Strauss was important to many composers, for example Luciano Berio, who used texts from the anthropologist's The Raw and the Cooked in his Sinfonia. I'm not well enoughed informed about the present statis of Lévi-Strauss's as a theorist within the disciplines of Anthropology and Ethnography (this post at Savage Minds is one place to start looking), but his writing retains its strange beauty, whether in the reflective travel book Tristes Tropiques (which begins with the sentence "I hate traveling and explorers") or in the four volumes of Mythologiques.