Friday, January 27, 2017

Events Lurking in the Shrouds 0f History - How Some of Them Form Far Greater Stories...

Some time back, I wrote a blog concerning two of Man's most ubiquitous bedfellows; namely,  war and music - both  of these elemental entities have accompanied us, seemingly, virtually from the Beginning of this  Experience.
Thought I'd play a kind of  'game' germane to the above, and ask you to join in by either agreeing or disagreeing with the impact of  the lesser - known events I bring up:
 On a day in 1829, a  20 year- old must have  scratched his head (metaphorically?) as he pored over some of the manuscripts of one  J.S. Bach(I believe this moment took place in a library in Leipzig), and muttered that  the "B" minor Mass by the  Baroque composer had been performed just once  a century before(1729). This 20 year-old  vowed to have this music performed once again, which did indeed take place. The response was so strong that he arranged for another performance, and the music of Bach became known to the common man - thus, the Cult of Bach began, and has been going on ever since.
 The 20 year-old was Felix Mendelssohn.
I read somewhere that many years later, Mendelssohn was said to have uttered the following statement - "it took a Jew to discover this great Lutheran." I have no idea as to whether the statement is apocryphal; ,however, it does indeed show up in more than one   tome I have encountered.
On a day in April of 1942, the Doolittle Raid over cities in Japan took place. There was less than significant damage wrought by the bombs; however the militarists ruling Imperial Japan were thunderstruck by the event, as no such  event  would be thought  possible after the destruction at Pearl Harbor.
The knee-jerk reaction on the part of the Japanese hierarchy was to plan on extending their empire further eastward so that no such raid could again occur, and so they planned on invading and occupying the American territory called Midway island.
What was not known to the Japanese - their naval code had been  deciphered enough by American Naval intelligence to make the Midway plan known. The results:
The American forces were lying in wait for the Japanese to appear, with  the Japanese suffering what was to become a fatal wound ; that is, the sinking of four aircraft carriers, which made it impossible for the Japanese to conduct an offensive war in the Pacific from that day on,  which resulted in their inevitable defeat in 1945.
On a particular day  a  few  years ago, the eminent pianist Daniel Barenboim announced to the musical world the emergence of a piano designed by him and crafted into existence by a master  piano builder from  Belgium. At the time, there were just two of these pianos in existence; one in Barenboim's studio, the other in the possession of  the piano maker.
The difference in tonal production and pedaling techniques was announced by Barenboim himself, mainly through a different positioning technique of the strings and an altered approach to the makeup of the sounding board. The results, if accepted by performers and others of influence, could alter the very way of dealing tactically(interpretively) with the standard repertoire. I can only assume that 'the jury is still out' about what effect there can or will be in the playing of the likes of a Schubert, or a Beethoven etc.
One day we will know...
On a September day in 1940, on one of the air raids conducted by Hitler's Luftwaffe over England, one of the planes accidentally dropped some bombs in  the London area, this for the first time. Prime Minister Winston Churchill then demanded that the British reciprocate by dropping bombs on the city of Berlin, which was done.
Similar to the Japanese reaction to the Doolittle  Raid, The Germans were thunderstruck  - Hitler was incensed and demanded that London undergo what  was to become the London Blitz.
By diverting his air force from the attacks on the radar stations and airfields, which had brought England to within just a few weeks of defeat (Churchill's own admission), the raids on London made it possible for the British airmen to recover sufficiently to make it impossible for Hitler to invade England by way of Operation Sea Lion.
Thereafter, Hitler turned to the East and invaded  Russia with an undefeated England at his back.
Hitler  himself had more than once cautioned that a two-front war  would be fatal to Germany.
And so it was...
There you have lesser known events which have formed great changes in the direction of the Road Traveled  called History - of the examples listed above, we will have to wait for an answer to the question surrounding  the  Barenboim Piano.

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