Music Composers Unite!
True or False: Mozart was both nine years old when he wrote his fourth symphony, and four years old when he wrote his ninth symphony.
Fredrick said, "Frankly, I crave information that is illegitimate because at least it has a chance of being funny. And that, I am sure we all agree, is the real purpose of life."
Since that is almost, in an absolutely true way, a statement about total reality, understood teleologically, then I must agree, at least somewhat. Therefore, everything said after this, may be superfluous, and entirely incorrect.
Fredrick spoke of "Topics that have nothing to do with music ..."
I have already set up an entire thread, asking this question: "What topics are there that have nothing to do with music?" I don't think we really have discovered any. Why? Because music, in one form or another, encompasses almost everything humans can contemplate, whether we are talking about symphonies, operas, oratorios, song-cycles, sonatas or string quartets. And the truly great composers themselves have talked, and do talk about almost everything. If you can find a topic that the great composers have not talked about, or have not related to their own music in some way, I would be amazed. Maybe you could tell us what subjects absolutely and definitively, in your view "have nothing to do with music." You may as well say, such and such a topic has nothing to do with literature, or painting, or philosophy, history, or even journalism.
Fredrick also speaks of instances where "logic has to be tortured into new shapes for a music claim to be made"
If Fredrick can find one statement (either one of his own, or one made by someone else) where "logic has been tortured," or where "new shapes" have been created "for a music claim to be made," I would be most grateful. And I would even be amazed. I doubt if he can. And if such a statement can be found, and if it escapes previous limited and rigid forms of logical reasoning, which are merely pre-Wittgensteinian, then I would ask: Where is the harm in that?
"Since I have not one ounce of musical skill ..."
I would respectfully ask (even if this is an ironic statement), for people not to denigrate or belittle themselves for an alleged lack of skills. It may discourage forum participants, especially those who are younger, and who are looking up to the older members for some kind of leadership.
I must praise Fredrick, when all is said and done, for his last post. Fredrick, who has complained about the level of discourse here, is now doing what he can, it seems, to become something like an avid participant.
He adds, regarding a criticism of "Facebook,"
"Of course, but it is not the only vehicle for this most profound form of discourse. Drivel is the one of the commodities on this planet (and the next) that appears to be truly egalitarian."
Anyone who visits Facebook, and reads it even in a cursory fashion, will eventually see that the level of discourse often falls far below that of the average forum, discussion board, or listserv. However that may be, each entry on a forum, or discussion board or listserv should be judged on its own merits, probably, without broad generalizations being made.
"And what is drivel anyway? One man’s drivel is another man’s driver. That which is important to one person is impotent to another. The nature of drivel, like the colors of the rainbow or the sound of the ocean is largely a matter of opinion."
Relativism like this is fine for first year college students, or adolescents, and we can be sure that Fredrick doesn't really believe this, given his frequent proclamations on questions of aesthetic, moral and other types of value. He knows for example (and I agree) that one hour of Bach's artistic output has probably done more to raise the intellectual, moral, and spiritual level of humanity than the complete tapes of all the programs put out by Fox's Hannity. However, here he observes,
Says one observer “isn’t that a glorious sunset?” to which his companion replies “you are quite mad,” and they are both right.
Maybe we can have the ability to appreciate what someone says, without having to agree with it totally; and perhaps we can also understand that when two people debate, or engage in a dialectical exchange, even if they end up disagreeing, they both come away comprehending more aspects of the issue under discussion than they did in the beginning (as we see so commonly in a Socratic dialogue, or when we witness any good formal or informal debate, where the participants are seriously interested in the issue).
"Drivel and our comprehension thereof, is a matter or conditioning and expectation. We see drivel through the eyes of the culture into which we were born. If your parents thought something was drivel, chances are you will too."
I am somewhat reluctant to buy the unsubstantiated premise about supposed "conditioning" for intelligent people (or even supposedly "average" people), especially when talking to, with and about composers. Think about music. The first note does not condition the appearance or nature of the second note, in a composition. Since the composer usually understands this, he or she should be free from facile theories of physical causality involving human beings, the human mind, and the soul (not to mention, the spirit). Furthermore, properly speaking, no one was born into one single "culture," about which one can easily generalize, though some generalizations can be made and discussed. We don't really see "drivel" (or anything else, for that matter) simply through "the eyes of the culture in which we were born." Consider that statement carefully. It would signify that, if I were born in China, and came to the US, and was raised by Anglo-Saxon parents, I would (since I was born in China) always see everything through a Chinese cultural lens. That clearly cannot be true. Our perspectives about "culture," about drivel—and about almost any issue—can and will change and develop over time. This will happen due to a series of personal choices, personal experiences and individual evolution, amplified over time by acquired wisdom. That's not something simply "conditioned."
"The function of this estimable forum is to raise our appreciation of drivel and of course make us better, more skillful, more eloquent contributors of our own drivel."
One may interpret the reality in this fashion, though some may reasonably call this into question, and label such a way of phrasing the description as just slightly too cynical, sardonic or nihilistic (or even sarcastic). Again, I might refer people Livy's "History of Rome from it's Foundation," where they can review the actual history of Rome's Forum, and see what was discussed there, and how it was discussed, with actual illustrations recorded by the historian, about a real and venerable forum. Very little of what was discussed there was "drivel," or inconsequential.
"This is not a new idea."
Any idea can be new, if it is revivified and made "anew."
"Many universities and other mental institutions teach drivel ..."
That is all too true. We can include the "House Select Committee on Benghazi" in the category of "mental institutions," I believe. Fortunately, in many universities, colleges and academies (especially in seminars) there are often more opportunities for discourse, asking profound questions, and obtaining a variety of responses, than there are in the media, or in Congress, or at the daily briefing of the President's Press Secretary.
" ... but (due to pressure from the world wide conspiracy for rational thought) hide their laudable agenda from those who would strip us of this noble pursuit."
If universities HAD a single agenda, or even a series of agendas, who knows whether or not that would be good thing? Even the "original university," Plato's Academy, had no agenda, other than promoting thought as a means as arriving at truth. That was why post-Constantinian, officially Christian Rome closed the Academy down. Since there is no "conspiracy for rational thought" as Galileo observed centuries ago (just as there is no conspiracy as to the method by which people may carry stones and pebbles from one place to another), light shines out from unexpected places. It becomes obscured haphazardly, though not without some effort, on the parts of those who are trying to reveal (or to hide) some particular truth.
Drivel, like the color white, comes in many shades and with infinite nuance.
The word "drivel," we might find, in this particular discussion, is in danger of becoming so overused that it can simply refer to anything that the person using it wants it to mean. So we might want to nail it down, with at least some sort of provisional definition. And we may wish to do this, before everything in the universe, or everything that can be referred to (including, truth, beauty, the good, justice and God himself) is referred to as "drivel." That may be the direction in which some people with nihilistic tendencies may want to lead us. Drivel, as a verb, may mean:
intransitive v. To slobber; drool.
intransitive v. To flow like spittle or saliva.
intransitive v. To talk stupidly or childishly.
transitive v. To allow to flow from the mouth.
transitive v. To say (something) stupidly.
As a noun, it may mean:
n. senseless talk; nonsense
n. saliva, drool
So when the speaker says,
"Let us therefore study drivel and develop a systematized approach to the study of drivel ..."
I say, lets leave that to the study of biologists, at least for a little while. Drivel would appear to help in the process of digestion, but it might not be our main concern here, unless the purpose is simply to denigrate what everyone says.
"There is, that I know of, antique drivel, early drivel, renaissance drivel, baroque drivel, classical drivel, romantic drivel, impressionist drivel, modern drivel and post- modern drivel."
This is what I was worried about: that word "drivel" could conceivably be overused. In that last sentence it was used nine times, I think (which even Sarah Palin might recognize as "too many times.")
"For me, the crowing achievement in this field occurred in the first decade of the past century in which we were treated to non-tonal drivel; drivel in which not a sound was made. This sort of drivel proves the existence of god (or gosh). This is drivel that soared to new heights of meaninglessness."
Oh, well, just as I anticipated (and I didn't even read this far until this instant). I didn't need to. We had to end up here, I thought. Simply a negation of sound, and meaning, and of course, a barely hidden mockery of any higher value at all, one that we might call God, Truth or Meaning, in any sense whatsoever.
We can only embrace the notion of a Hegelian Synthesis, in which the oft repeated negative word –drivel, drivel, drivel—will result in the negation of negation, and thus drive us toward the higher stage of affirmation. This is what Boulez and the post-Webern generation sought for in classical music, during the last half of the twentieth century.
True or false: Brahms spent fourteen years writing his first symphony, and Shostakovich spent one year writing his fourteenth symphony.
FRIDAY EVENING POKER
Fredrick: "I would posit that the study of orchestration has nothing whatsoever to do with music."
Okay. I'll see you, and take a closer look at my cards here.
I'll posit that melody has nothing to do with music. Now, I'll call. What do you have? I have three clubs. And do you see this club here? This is the one that young Hercules used to beat his lyre teacher to death, when he decided he didn't want to study music any more. Of course, I don't approve of that kind of violence any more than you do. But facts is facts. Hercules wasn't such a good person, and he lacked breeding. It didn't matter that his father was Zeus. If a human being lacks breeding, he'll misbehave.
Fredrick: " . . . this is also true of breeding sheep."
I dare say it is.
Fredrick: "And that is why so many scholars have commented on the similarity between these two activities."
You mean between breeding and creating music? Well, they are both a kind of creating, I suppose. But you wanted to say something else about "drivel," I'll warrant.
Fredrick: " ... what makes the word drivel so irresistibly attractive. In some far distant time more evolved life forms may well be able to express all that can be expressed with just one word."
Yes, I agree. I am sure that's true, and strange to say, I've had that very same thought myself.
Fredrick: "Guess what that word is likely to be."
I don't think I can. I'll have to wait until it comes out in the newspapers. ... So, not to get too far off of the subject of music, but what did Brahms do during the whole fourteen years he was composing his first symphony?
Fredrick: " ... during that time he neither bathed, brushed his teeth nor combed his hair. His neighbors were incredibly grateful when he completed the piece."
I should think so. But didn't you want to prove that everyone was conditioned to do everything they do, even Brahms?
Fredrick: "You make my argument for me ..."
How do I do that? Is it because I say ...
Fredrick " ... that we must broaden our appreciation of drivel and throw off the shackles of parochialism so that we may expand our appreciation of pan cultural drivel."
Oh, that's it, is it? And you think everything, from every culture, is drivel because ...
Fredrick "I have not one ounce of musical skill ..."
I did ask for people "not to denigrate or belittle themselves for an alleged lack of skills." But is it the case, as it seems to me, that you want to denigrate, in addition to every culture on earth, not only your own skills, but everyone else's abilities, even Brahms' ability to bathe himself, comb himself and brush his teeth?
Fredrick: "I don't find my lack of talent anything of which to be ashamed."
I would never suggest that anyone should be ashamed of anything. But if a person "lacks musical talent," and in fact, therefore, lacks knowledge about music, how can he know whether or not he, or anyone in the world, possesses that talent or not? Are you saying you are ignorant of the fact you are wise, or are you wise, in knowing that you are ignorant? Maybe you want to appear to the world as if you are Sisyphus.
Fredrick: On the contrary, not wanting to appear to be Sisyphus, I embrace my limitations as liberating.
Camus may have believed the image of a man pushing a stone up a hill forever—having it fall back down, and then having to push it up over and over again—was somehow liberating. He may have thought, all you have to do, as you push the stone up the hill, is believe "it's all how you think about it. Just keep pushing." But I think Camus was asking the wrong questions, and that's why he got the wrong answer.
Fredrick: The question you need to ask is this ...
Oh, wait a minute. Now you are going to tell me not only what you think, but what questions you believe I "need to ask?" That seems a bit presumptuous. Why don't you simply decide what questions YOU should ask, and permit me to ask my own questions?
Fredrick: "The question you need to ask is this: If Fredrick can speak in such frank terms about the lack of talent displayed in his compositions, what must he think of mine?"
Well, if you really want to know my reaction to the question, it seems to me, if Fredrick is in a mood right now (and even often in such a mood) [because it's fairly obvious this is a "mood," and he may soon be praising his own compositions to himself, or someone else's compositions sooner or later, when his mood changes], then it's simply because he feels right now that "everything is drivel," and that all compositions are bad (except perhaps, when he thinks they are not).
There is also the other question that must be attached to this one. Is Fredrick really "speaking frankly" or is Frank speaking "frederickly," when he denigrates his own compositions? Probably almost no one knows the answer to that question, not even Frank.
Dave, you seem to be saying that there is a rule book for bantering drivel.
Where can I get a copy of these rules? Are they based on Common Law
or Corporate Law? There is a vast and subtle difference.
The original Post heading.... Beautiful Symphony... was about the theme
playing behind the video (not the musical accompanyment)
That theme to my biased ear is, Man's Humanity to Man.
In a world of increasing discord, I found it refreshing.
The truth about the banking industry and who runs and controls it
is of paramount importance and relevance when you try to uncover
why there is so much discord and inhumanity throughout history.
Believe it or don't... that's your choice. I have concluded that it
is not a theory, but instead, well documented fact. RS
ps- and people are responding to my points funny...
Fred can be hilarious.
Peter, nope, I don't think he saw the difference.
Maybe you'd better try again and if that fails, well
I guess it's the dead horse thing :+]
Dave, That's OK here to, you assume that by my pointing out Fred's tactic,that I was unhappy
with him. Is it possible for someone to make note of this objectively, and then in a
sparring way, respond in like manner? I certainly don't take it personally.
I'm sure if you took the time to read previous posts and exchanges, you will find
a number of precedants. It 'seems to me' that you are attempting to make a
mountain out of the preverbial molehill. I don't think that either of 'us' care nearly
as much as you do. It's all just part of the dialog and fun that makes all this drivel
worthwhile. Some of it is constructive and some of it is just playing with words.
Also, if I thought for a minute that Fred or anyone else, would take it personnally and run crying
to his mommy, I simply wouldn't play so terribly rough.
Please forgive me Fred, I didn't mean to stress you out. RS
Perhaps we can bring the discussion back to the subject, "The most beautiful symphony in recent history."
Since recorded history stretches back about 6,000 years, we can easily consider any symphony written during the past 150 years as "recent."
I don't really buy the premise that the first video posted on this thread was any kind of "symphony," either literally, figuratively or metaphorically. I don't think anyone here did, though some people "liked it," perhaps. None of my questions about the likelihood that the video is just a public relations stunt were answered. There's no evidence to suggest that any of the "scientific discoveries" being worked on were either original or even effective, in any meaningful way. How often do genuine scientists make "promotional videos" or infomercials to hype up the reputations of their funders, or the CEO's of the firms organizing their research? How is this any different from those shorter commercials shown on the main networks to defend the reputations of Shell Oil and British Petroleum: We are seeking environmentally solutions while we poison the oceans, the rivers, the air and your lungs. "Five Hour Energy" is finding "energy solutions" while they poison children, adolescents and some adults who don't know what these drinks actually contain, or what the health effects are. None of this is answered in this thread.
So what REALLY is "The most beautiful symphony in recent history."
Is it one we have not heard before? Maybe it's this one:
Prélude à la nouvelle journée
I don't know. I am still trying to decide how good a composer Matthisj Vermeulen is. I do believe that something which can be as grand and monumental as a SYMPHONY should not be dragged down into the mud, either through false analogy or inappropriate metaphors.
The phrase "the most beautiful symphony in recent history" invites comparison.
So compare the "Five Hour Energy" video or its soundtrack with Shostakovich's Symphony No. 10, or with Prokofiev's Symphony No. Six, and see how it comes out, and which one really is "beautiful" in any meaningful sense of the word.
Ondib, for someone that writes abstact music, I am surprised that you can't see past the notes.
Please read the earlier post where I mentioned 'Man's Humanity to Man'.
The 'beauty' of the video is beyond the energy drink and the musical accompanyment
to the video. It is the beauty of the souls working together in an attempt to benefit humanity
and bring much needed resources to those who need it. RS
Fred , this ones for you.
I got out my super duper high powered ultra sonic plasma
combination lunchbox and flashlight and went searching the
deep dark corners of the internet.
So pop some popcorn, sit back and enjoy.... it's a hoot RS
ps- the ending will have you rolling...
Thank you very much, Fredrick, for the link to the Benda Sinfonia No. 4 in B flat. I'm enjoying it.
I've only heard Benda a few times, always on the radio. It's a nice work, with a lot of independent life in the individual lines of music. He may be one of the underestimated figures of that period.
I think this may qualify as ONE of the "beautiful symphonies of recent history," if we define history in broad swaths of centuries. From the perspective of the Sumerians, all our music from 1500 or so up until today might just blend together and sound the same. I doubt they had anything quite like Benda.
I appreciate your sharing it.
I wonder if representatives of mature Sumerian civilization would have liked Subotnik's "The Wild Bull?" (Played on period instruments, of course).
Fredrick zinos said:
OO. Oh yeah, Well Benda ear to this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIE-BD9nrOw
"The earth is said to be 4.567 billion years old and the Benda piece sounds 18th century. In the general scheme of things, recent."
That is quite reasonable, Fredrick.
However, Bishop Usher says the earth is only slightly more than 6,000 years old. Strict scientific reasoning tells us that when we have such divergent estimates, we should just split the difference. So, we can assume that the Earth is about 2.25 Billion years old, give or take a few 100 million years, one way or the other.
Now, how do we date the works of the inestimable Benda? Using similar reasoning, we can split the difference again, and assume that the Benda Sinfonia was written roughly half way between the 18th and the 21st century, say, in the late 19th or early 20th century.
This makes it even more reasonable to talk about Benda's Sinfonia No. 4 as a "beautiful symphony in recent history," and therefore it becomes a candidate for the contest, proposed by this thread, to discover "THE most beautiful symphony in recent history."
I must add, that while I was napping in the shower (while eating a supper of broccoli soup and fresh cheese) I was able to listen to the complete Shostakovich Symphonies, only sleeping, in fact, during the short periods between movements.
This convinced me that all these works should also be considered candidates for title of "Most Beautiful Symphony in Recent History."
Some people may have claimed to have dozed off while listening to Shostakovich, if only briefly. But honestly, I don't see how anyone could sleep at all during a performance, or while listening to a recording, of any of these symphonies by (unless one was dreaming that one was asleep).
Fredrick zinos said:
The earth is said to be 4.567 billion years old and the Benda piece sounds 18th century. In the general scheme of things, recent.
"I'll take the 4.5billion year figure and one more Benda symphony."
Okay. This time, do you want one by Franz Benda, Christian Benda, Jiří Antonín Benda, Georg Benda or ગુજ રાતીমী.যা়ನ್ನ ಡ Benda?
You can take your pick from these.
I'll take 2.2 aspirin....
You guys do realize that the original post was about the 'notions'
behind the video and music and not the notes ?
That would make it a symphony of ideas, not sounds. Oh well RS
ps- have fun with whatever you decide recent means,
my original take was 75 to 100 years. Or starting about the time
JP Morgan had Tesla silenced.