Fringes

Mr. Hálek's Fungus

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By the time he received his calling from God, Václav Hálek was already firmly established as a concert pianist and composer in the Czechoslovakian classical music scene. Fortunately for Hálek, the Lord didn't want the fervently Catholic maestro to join the priesthood or lead his fellow papists in arms against the godless communist state. Hálek's calling was a simple, occupationally aligned act of devotion. Listen to the music that mushrooms make and write it down for those of us who can't hear their songs. Which mushrooms, exactly? Every single damn one of them.

To date, Hálek has penned nearly 6,000 of these mushroom melodies, transcribed straight from the mushroom itself (or a picture of the mushroom itself when it's not growing season). This in addition to composing an entire "Mycocosmic Symphony"—which the Communist authorities dutifully banned under the "Louie Louie"-like suspicion that it must contain some secret subversive message they were missing. Because otherwise who the hell would write an entire symphony just for mushrooms? A man who spends every morning staring at one until it sings to him, that's who.

A handful of species from Hálek's fungal opus have been performed and recorded (archive.org has a nice selection of boletus and amaritas you can listen to here), but most of it sits in ever-growing stacks of score paper around the Hálek house, waiting as patiently as a dormant sclerotium to carve out a place for mushrooms in the plant-and-animal-glutted canon of Western music and seal their composer as the musical Lorax of the fungus kingdom.

Fungax.

Previously - The Mushroom Whisperer

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