Thursday, May 21, 2009

Part Seven - Conversations with Whom??

I continue to 'grapple' with the question "which four people from the past would you most enjoy having conversation with?"
I thought that I should get back, at this time, to musicians from the past, to consider:
The so-called "Mighty Five", that incredible group of composers from Mother Russia has always been a source of wonder to me, if for no other reason other then only one of the five was a professional musician, the other four being clerks or from the military - imagine! To think of the likes of Tchaikowsky or Moussorgsky as being musicians by avocation, or Rimsky-Korsakov as a naval officer - it really boggles the mind!
However, this group emerges as the major force of Russian national expression in the 19th century, and sets the kinetic up for Russia's continuum into the 20th century by way of giants such as Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Shostakovitch etc.
Of the "Five", I would probably not have chosen Cui, Borodin, or Balakirev, as my sense about their social placement is a question - would I have become 'bored?'
And I am not completely comfortable with Moussorgsky, as his alcoholism may have interfered with a clarity of direction endemic to the art of conversing, though I fully realize that this man housed, perhaps, the most pure form of nucleic musical honesty of the Group, despite his technical weaknesses.
Tchaikowsky I should have liked to converse with, however. Besides the wonder, in terms of pure beauty, almost always attached to his language, the issue of personal tragedy and fear; the attempt, at least once, at suicide; the stigma in Mother Russia of homosexuality, a crime in that culture; the annullment of a sexless marriage; the constant pressure of the reality that he was only months, in terms of knowledge, ahead of his students in the Conservatory, primarily due to the lurching into view of an unprecedented monster; namely, a struggle to attach a formalized educational structure to this thing called music, which was just then struggling to get off of its knees as a known artistic entity by way of such entities as the Five...I believe that it would have been fascinating to hear Tchaikowsky relating life's imagery and experience as he reflected upon it.

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