C.P.Cavafy: Anthonism


  • Michael Tsianikas Flinders University


Includes image: 'allegorical scene', 1955.


The word intermezzo is mainly understood as musical terminology. The “archaeology” of this word is rich from the Renaissance to today. It describes a piece of music, which inserts itself into the middle of a musical performance and stirs up feelings that are almost unfathomable. The 19th century, in particular, enriched it with a more lyrical and intrusive character, making it more surprising and almost independent from the rest of the work to which is belonging. Mendelssohn inspired the famous Shakespearean Midsummer Night’s Dream; Brahms attached more emotion to it; and Puccini made use of an intermezzo in his opera Madame Butterfly, which introduced a new dimension into his work, pleasant and traumatic. Perhaps no other intermezzo is so intrusive and enigmatic as that of Shostakovich in String Quartet 15, which lasts a little more than a minute. What, then, is the essence of intermezzos? Are they just for fun and relaxation? Are they different from the rest of the work that they are contained in? I believe they represent the essence of a distilled and “organic” music, full of freeing lyricism, that accompanies a profound transformation which transcends everything and from which a totally new situation will arise. This new situation is going out of control, as if the music itself is revealing the force of a musical “matter” which could be almost touched like an object