Death Everywhere

From Faster: The Acceleration Of Just About Everything by James Gleick:

With all the arts making their small sacrifices to hurriedness, music lovers can hardly expect to be
immune. There is a special kind of pain, though. Music is the art form most clearly about time. The
passing seconds are its canvas and its palette. There are extremes of slowness in music that stand out
like peaks of the Himalayas—the Heiliger Dankgesang movement of Beethoven’s Opus 132 string
quartet, or the final heart-stopping adagio of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony (Leonard Bernstein,
conducting, took six minutes to crawl through the score’s last page). These seemingly endless passages
evoke death by information deprivation: when rich flurries of black-beamed chords give way to the
simplest sustained single tones is precisely when Lewis Thomas, listening, found himself thinking of
“death everywhere, the dying of everything, the end of humanity.”

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