Self-portrait with Saskia

Lionello Puppi’s “Rembrandt”

Lionello Puppi’s is a fine, short work on Rembrandt. Aside from Rembrandt’s indisputable greatness, I am additionally drawn to him because he was born in the same town as I, Leiden, and studied, in Amsterdam, under Pieter Lastman, said to be “the most influential Dutch painter of the time,” and who greatly admired the Italian…

Solitary tree in the light of the beginning of summer, Tatlow Walk, Stanley Park, Vancouver. 22 June 2015. (Photo: Hendrik Slegtenhorst)

Solitary Ethics Trilogy

The poetic trilogy Solitary Ethics is an exploration of ethical and moral considerations. Book I deals with right action in the context of the experience of the individual will; Book II, in the context of the absolute nature of the essence of being; and Book III in the context of human desire guided by reason. The trilogy…

Mahler and Freud Meet in Leiden – Of the Pilgrimage of Life – Hendrik Slegtenhorst (2017)

The subject of Mahler and Freud Meet in Leiden, a book of poetry, is the contract life imposes on a human being as the fundamental condition of its existence. It is explored as the unstated, never negotiated covenant between existence and life; that is, the conditional situation that existence provides to those that live within it, and…

Esterháza Palace, illuminated at night

Political Insurrection and the Symphony – Mahler and Freud Meet in Leiden II:II:1

The subject of the poem “Insurrection” is the search for clarity of content in a chosen form. The forms selected are political insurrection and the orchestral symphony, both constrained by the norms of place and society. The setting is in the Hungarian forests, where the insurgents are, and the nearby Esterháza Palace, where Haydn is…

Peace River, 99th Street, 16 December 2011 (Photo: Hendrik Slegtenhorst)

Shostakovich, Poetry, and the Borodin Quartet – Mahler and Freud Meet in Leiden III:II:7

My poem with images on the fifteen string quartets of Dmitri Shostakovich has now appeared in the final issue, the 167th, of Toronto’s Descant, an issue likely to become a collector’s item. There may be a few left on bookstore shelves. The poem, titled “Shostakovich in Peace River,” concludes “The Underside of Time,” which is…

Dialogues des Carmelites (Courtesy: broadwayworld.com)

Francis Poulenc – Dialogues des Carmélites (1956) – Mahler and Freud Meet in Leiden IV:II

Poulenc’s extraordinary opera is a study of the moral courage of decision within the increasingly inescapable social context of a chosen theological dialectic. The concluding scene begins with a searing orchestral invocation that introduces the 14 executions by guillotine. The final few bars hark back to the opening music of the opera, and complete the…