“Rock Crystal” by Adalbert Stifter

A New Year’s Eve Salon Performance

Offered by the Section for the Literary Arts and Humanities;
Sponsored by the Faust Branch in Fair Oaks

“. . . Adalbert Stifter, a significant writer . . .”

— Rudolf Steiner

On New Year Eve 2020, the Section presented to the Faust Branch a re-telling of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. This year, the Branch again invited the Section to host the New Year Eve event, but instead of Dickens the writer chosen for 2021 was Adalbert Stifter.

Here is a video of the storytelling-performance of Adalbert Stifter’s “Rock Crystal.”

Take the case of Adalbert Stifter, a significant writer. He wanted to become a grammar school teacher. Unfortunately he was thought to be totally unsuitable, not talented enough for such a post. Coincidentally a certain Baroness Mink, who had nothing to do with judging the ability of grammar school teachers, heard about Adalbert Stifter as a writer, acquainted herself with the material he had produced so far — which he himself did not think was particularly good — and prevailed upon him to have it published. That caused a great stir. The authorities suddenly took the view that there was no one better equipped to become the schools inspector for the whole country. And thus a person who a short while before had been thought too incompetent to become a teacher was suddenly appointed to supervise the work of every other teacher!

— Rudolf Steiner, from “The Opposition of Spiritual Powers,” Dornach 1923

Songs of the Spirit by Novalis / Song Number 1

Our Holy Night and New Year’s Eve 2021 Salon evening concluded with a reading of a poem by Novalis. We chose the first poem of the sequence known in English as the “Songs of the Spirit.” Marion read the poem in German to the accompaniment of the adagio movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata that I performed on classical guitar (arrangement by Tom Anthony).

This poem by Novalis was chosen because of the importance accorded to Novalis by Rudolf and Marie Steiner. They especially celebrated Novalis during Christmas lectures and performances in the first decade of the 20th century, such as the lecture and performance event in Berlin on December 26, 1909 or December 22, 1908.

Section meetings begin again in February 2022. January is a month for meditation, reading, contemplation, poem and novel and essay writing, long walks, Britbox, tending the grape vines, appreciating art and practicing music. Happy New Year!

Written by Bruce Donehower
January 04, 2022