Monday, September 26, 2011

The Indefinable, Inexplicable Arcanum - The Powers in Music...

Why did I find myself whistling, then humming one of my own tunes this morning?
Why do tunes pop up in our inner hearing apparatus?
Why is there, at least at times, the "tune of the day?"
I got to thinking about the nature of the kinds of power that music has over us, and it shows up in countless, let alone, rather strange ways, from time to time:
With the overwhelming power that the music of Wagner held over Hitler's consciousness, especially during his formative years, why is it that his favorite tune, according to some in his inner sanctum, was "Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Wolf?"(remember the tune in one of Disney's earlier classics, the "3 Little Pigs?")? Was it because his nickname WAS Wolf, or was it simply the tune itself?
On Sept.2, 1945, we know that the Japanese Empire formally surrendered to the Allies in a ceremony on the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay - what is not generally known is that on the very same day, in the northern section of Vietnam, the relatively new Viet Minh, a communist-based group, had not yet created any music for its forces to march to - and so they marched to and sang the French national anthem, the music representing the country they defeated in a bloody war a decade later in Dien Bien Phu.
The premier of Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" resulted in a riot that spilled out of the hall and onto the streets of Paris in 1913, actually creating, for a brief period of time, a degree of danger to the well-being of the composer himself. Why?
The combination of jazz, the clarinet, and the color black created the Ebony Concerto by Stravinsky, who was fascinated by Jazz, the Woody Herman band and Herman himself, a master jazz clarinetist - how does such an incarnation come into being, especially from a giant such as Stravinsky, who was, in his inner world, so distant from the jazz form?
Man thrust into space, many years ago, a time capsule, with attendant hopes that one day another living form may encounter it, and hear, among other human contributions, the music of Bach as played by Glenn Gould.
What, in a language which, in and of itself needs no words, prompts these kinds of motivations and actions to take place?
No answer, for us, is available, it seems...



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