Skip to main content

Below is "The Apocalyptic Symphony" composed in 1945 by Karl Weigl, an Austrian-Jewish composer who fled the Third Reich to the US.  He dedicated this symphony, with what I think we can assume was totally heartfelt sincerity, to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  It's one big 45 minute Youtube lump so here goes...

Karl Weigl's Symphony #5, "The Apocalyptic Symphony" (1945)

I'll talk about this just a tiny bit below.  However, the real meat of this diary is going to spin off into insane cosmic reaches of outer space as I envision my own end to the human race, what it would mean, what music means (or will have meant), and into a tortuous discussion of reductionism and the rules of chess and the behavior of hurricanes and how I sometimes try to piece this all together in my own feeble mind.  

I begin by asking this question:  Imagine that we learned that the end of the world was imminent.  What then?

Imagine for a moment that the world did come to an end.  Let's start out by being realistic about it for a moment.  What would happen?  

If the news came very suddenly, I suppose all order would break down and the end would come very violently and prematurely for many people.

When the end does come for us and for our solar system, we can be certain that Beethoven's Fifth will still exist in a physical form.  We know this because we sent it out of our solar system aboard the Voyager probe on a Golden LP, shown here:

This LP which includes Beethoven's Fifth will outlast you, your children, your children's umpty-umpth children, the solar system, and the whole human race.

Now, suppose we had plenty of warning -- say, ten years, for instance -- in which to become accustomed to the idea of the inevitable end of the world and to adjust our plans accordingly.  What might we do?  Well for starters, there would be no point in waiting for that keg of 38 year old Scotch in a Highlands brewery to become 50 year old Scotch, would there?  The economy would take a big hit at first, but life still has to go on... For another ten years, ten precious years.  After the initial shock and reaction of grief, there would still be a lot of time to fill in and in which to get used to the idea and prepare.

End of the realism.  And I'm not sure even that, above, is very realistic.  Let's talk about how fiction has treated this idea.

In Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated Man, in the short story, The Last Night of the World, he imagines that all the adults in the world have had the same dream that this is their last night.  Yet they go about their business calmly, have dinner together, put the children to bed (please ignore the film version, which changed the ending), turn out the lights, and go to bed.  Suddenly, the wife remembers that she left the water running.  She runs to the kitchen, turns it off, and comes back to bed, where she giggles with her husband about what she just did.  Because, hey... it's the last night of the world.  All very orderly.

In Don McKellar's film, The Last Night (starring Don McKellar and Sandra Oh), the end of the world is coming, presumably because of some terrible, predictable, and unavoidable hiccup that the sun is going to have at a certain exact time.  People have had time to adjust to this, though, so they are all spending their last night on Earth as they think most appropriate.  Some are spending it with family, as if it's Thanskgiving.  Others are frantically checking off a list of sexual fantasies, one by one.  One woman (Sandra Oh) is planning to spend her last moments with her lover; at the very last moment, they will drink a toast and both will shoot each other in the head.  (Just to deny the sun the satisfaction.)  When her boyfriend disappears and can't make it in time, she becomes frantic to fall in love with somebody else as the clock runs down.

This idea of a peaceful and orderly ending might be absurd fantasy.  Well, fine, okay.  Probably it is.  But it's an interesting fantasy.  How would we like it to end?

Personally, I like to imagine some of us might have a big Last Night On Earth convention, to talk about humanity's greatest hits, the things we got right.  We got a lot of boneheaded things wrong, of course -- oh boy, did we.  But we might want to get together to have one last big rally to pat ourselves on the back as a species for just those things we were part of that were good.  Things we were proud of.  

There might be many rooms at a convention like that.  There might be one for mathematics lovers, one for poetry lovers, one for chess lovers.  One for lover lovers!  And one for music lovers, too.  We can probably imagine that would require many different rooms and venues.

What would really unite all those rooms would be love.  I'm not going to get all hippy-dippy here.  There are many types of love.  These are the things we loved about our species and some of those good things it did.  We are defined as a species by many things, but one way of defining what we were and are is by those things we loved.  So here's our big Last Night Hurrah Convention of everything we ever loved.  

What would I do at such a big convention on the last day of the human race?  Where would I be?  I like to think I'd be helping out with the convention.  Maybe I'd be running from room to room, selling peanuts and beer.  I'd want to see a little bit of all of them.  I'd probably want to see the people.  Grok the vibes.  Love the way we were and all the fine things we discovered and appreciated and were grateful for.

This diary series is conceived as an Intro to Music Appreciation 101 type class.  It's meant to be informative and educational and entertaining.  I think of myself not as a teacher, though, but as a missionary.  It's silly, because I realize the people that read these diaries usually know as much or more about the music we listen to than I do (although I bet few of you have heard of Weigl.)  So maybe I'm not converting anybody.  But I would like to communicate my love.  I have this rather absurd idea that my enthusiasm and love for the subject can be infectious.  I prefer that the technical education I throw in about how this piece works or that piece works shouldn't stand out as boring lecture but instead stand out as part of my love for the particular work.  Just as you get to know in an intimate way the details of your lover's body, all the jiggles and wrinkles and places that make them go ooh when you touch it, so too you can get to know a piece of music.  And it becomes like your lover.  

Better than a lover, in fact, because it can't ever really leave you.  I commented in my diary on Schubert's Ninth that I OWN Schubert's Ninth.  I've listened to it so many times, I've loved it so long, know it so well, that even if everything else was taken from me and I was left naked and destitute, I would still, even then, own Schubert's Ninth.  It's in me.  I love it.  You can't take it out of my head.  At least, not without electrodes and/or surgery.

So what does music mean?  Not just any one piece, but the totality of it, the human experience of it, the whole purpose of that Apocalyptic Convention room.

Remember Voyager's Golden LP floating through space and away from our solar system in relative motion.  Some alien race (unlikely, but hey, let's go there) might find it some day, analyze it, come up with a theory about what all the patterns embedded in the grooves are meant to communicate, and might find it interesting but not a real turn-on.  From their perspective, Beethoven's Fifth, as it is embodied on that LP, is interesting as an alien artifact but would otherwise not interesting at all.  They might come to the conclusion that the human race that once existed used to entertain itself by playing patterned sounds.  They might understand entertainment to be behavior that some species engage in to relieve social stresses and/or to reset biochemical processes of the body.

That's one possible reductionist view of what music and art are.  Reductionism is:

Reductionism can mean either (a) an approach to understanding the nature of complex things by reducing them to the interactions of their parts, or to simpler or more fundamental things or (b) a philosophical position that a complex system is nothing but the sum of its parts, and that an account of it can be reduced to accounts of individual constituents.[1] This can be said of objects, phenomena, explanations, theories, and meanings.
Anybody who loves science has felt the appeal of reductionism.  The primary long-term goal of physics at this moment is to reduce all the behavior of our physical universe to some basic underlying rule of nature from which everything else naturally emerges.  However, reductionism (editorial position here) can be a trap.  Understanding how the smallest elements of a system work may give you a complete causal model of how the universe works, but -- and this could be a big debate point -- it doesn't adequately DESCRIBE the behavior of the larger phenomena that emerge.  For instance, quantum theory might be good at explaining how electrons and protons zig and zag, but it doesn't provide a very USEFUL explanation of how hurricanes form and the course they will take as they head towards land.  A hurricane may be made up of protons and electrons following the strict rules of quantum physics, but a hurricane is a large structure made up of many, many, many particles.  New rules of behavior can emerge from those many, many particles that aren't obviously and directly relateable to quantum physics.

I'm a chess-lover as some of you know.  Like physics, chess has a set of finite rules for how the pieces work.  Learning only the rules might let you play a recognizable game of chess, but it won't make obvious some of the emergent rules that come out of the simpler rules.  For instance, people that learn chess are told early on that rooks are worth about five pawns and knights are worth about three.  The first time I heard that, my thought was, "How do you know?  That's not in the rules."  This relative evaluation of the pieces is ad hoc and based on a great deal of practical experience by players.  In fact, there are oodles of positions in which a single itty-bitty teeny-weeny pawn is worth more than a knight or a rook... or a rook and a knight.  

One knight here beats a rook and two pawns.  Sometimes knights are worth more than they told you.

Since a brute force calculation of all possible games is impossible to the average player (and even computers, still, today) ad hoc rules based on experience and more than a little bit of conflicting personal opinion come into serious chess-play.  And all of that based on a game with a 64 square board with 32 pieces and a very small and simple number of rules.

Reductionism tempts us to diminish the meaning of emergent phenomena like hurricane weather patterns and chess positions.  The temptation is there to say, "If we could just calculate all this out to the nth degree from basic principles [like quantum mechanics or the rules of chess] we wouldn't need all these silly rules... and therefore they don't REALLY matter in the grand scheme of things."

That's where we may all part company, because deciding what REALLY matters and what doesn't is a complicated matter of philosophy.  What matters is a decision made by humans.

Let's go back to our theoretical aliens analyzing the Voyager's Golden LP, and their conclusion that it contained patterns that were reproduced as sound in order to entertain the organisms called humans and to reset their organism's biochemistry through the chemical experience of pleasure.  That's one reductionist way of viewing it.  It's absolutely true -- I'll make no argument against that.  But that can't possibly encompass what music meant to us.  If music is just entertainment, then it makes no sense for us to have a going away party just to celebrate the existence of music.  We might be better off celebrating endorphins and serotonin.  

When I experience music, like, say, Schubert's Ninth, I have the (possibly incorrect) impression that it's important.  Perhaps the chemicals that my brain releases because of all kinds of ticky-tocky mechanical operations make me experience this feeling of importance.  We could, if we wanted to, insert electrodes in your brain and stimulate them in such a way that certain synapses would fire and you would think this diary is the most important thing you have ever read in your life.  Putting aside the terrible violation of the DailyKos Terms of Service agreement doing this to your brain would entail, this could imply that nothing you think is personally important really is important because, after all, at the lowest level, it's just part of a electrochemical brain fart.  If you could be deceived so easily into thinking this quickly slapped-together diary (it was hot today, so no Dvorak, sorry), then all your opinions are equally dubious.

Dumbo's Secret Plan to get more recs and tips.  Resistance is futile.

I choose not to believe that.  I choose to think that just as new rules and principles emerge out of the game of chess that the basic rule book doesn't anticipate, so too do new things emerge from the human experience that can have a different and greater meaning than just simple entertainment of human organisms to stimulate electrochemical brain farts.

The whole question of what meaning is... bleh...  It's getting late, so I'm going to cut that off here.

So, quickly now, what do I have to say about the Weigl Symphony #5 that we've all been listening to?

The symphony begins in an interesting way.  The first movement begins thusly (from the Youtube description):

The work opens with a striking theatrical gesture: The orchestra is instructed to enter the stage at their own leisure and begin tuning their instruments; suddenly, the conductor emerges on stage and cues the three trombonists who are situated on a raised platform behind the orchestra to begin the Evocation. Thus, order emerges from chaos.
It does have that instrument tuning sound.  When I first heard that, I thought, Hmmm... they are taking an awfully long time tuning.  Wait, that sounds like music, those trombones there...  Oh!  I get it, now.  It is kind of gimmicky, I suppose, but I like it.

The rest of the symphony, however, is traditional postromantic Germanic music in the style of Mahler.  Some parts of it sound like they could have (but no, they weren't) cribbed from Mahler's Third Symphony, a similar type of musical vocabulary.

The second movement, subtitled The Dance Around the Golden Calf, uses Jewish thematic material, Phrygian model themes, and our old friend, the Dies Irae (remember our Berlioz diary?).  You can't have a good Apocalypse without the Dies Irae making a guest appearance.  The Youtube diarist comments (and it sounds right) that the Golden Calf (a reference to Exodus) is probably an allusion to the ascension of the Nazis.  Remember, this was composed during the height of World War II by a Jewish refugee.

The third movement, the slow movement "Paradise Lost", is more personal.  I could be wrong, but I think I hear allusions to Wagner's Tristan und Isolde.  That could also just be an artifact of the composer's style.  When the horns come in at the climax of the movement, it is very powerful.  He paces this very well.

The final movement, "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse," is a reference to the Christian idea from Revelations of the final battle at the end of the world.  The horses, in order are The White Horse (Conquest), The Red Horse (War), The Black Horse (Famine), and the last one, The Pale Horse, which Revelations explicitly names its rider as Death.  The Mahlerian sound is very pronounced in this last movement.  The rhythms are herky-jerky, a bit like Berlioz's finale, to evoke a sense of the profane and horrific.

Next Week: I'll try once again to get to the Dvorak American Quartet.  I didn't feel like things were coming together for me right, with the hot weather, to write the kind of long diary that it deserves.  I hope this diary was entertaining.  Or meaningful.  Whatever!

Originally posted to Dumbo on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 08:12 PM PDT.

Also republished by DKOMA and Community Spotlight.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  And one of these Thursdays I'll finish my (7+ / 0-)

    evolution of the orchestra series with Berlioz--beyond Symphonie Fantastique--examining his role in creating the modern orchestra and the evolution of the orchestral sound.  After all, The great orchestrators of the last 150 years--Wagner, Mahler, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, R. Strauss, Ravel, and so on, are the orchestral children of Berlioz.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 08:56:23 PM PDT

  •  Wow. This started all atonal and modern, and (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, JKTownsend, pico, ER Doc, martyc35, Ed Tracey

    then settled back into a more late Romantic setting.  I was kinda hoping for some Scriabin Mysterium or Penderecki action.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 08:58:59 PM PDT

    •  Yeah, I was surprised, too. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JKTownsend, pico, ER Doc, martyc35

      In fact I didn't trust it at first.  "It's just lulling me into complacency so it can spring the trap."

      Schoenberg said of Weigl: ""I've always considered Dr. Weigl as one of the best composers of that older generation of those who continued the glorious traditions of Viennese music. He embodied the older spirit of the best parts of Viennese culture.."

      (... Paraphrasing from the German wiki's awkward translation).

      I hear lots of Mahler in it, but I won't go so far as calling it derivative, because I'm not sure Mahler's music was that influential of many composers at the time.  His music almost fell off the face of the earth, even before the Nazis banned it.  Schoenberg and Berg were big Mahler fans, but they knew him personally.

      I'm reading Schoenberg's Theory of Harmony right now (and absorbing those bits that don't confound me).  He has an introduction in the 1911 edition that dedicates it to Mahler whom he considered an unsung and unappreciated genius.  

      •  I don't hear much Mahler (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dumbo, pico, ER Doc, martyc35

        in this symphony. It reminds me more of Franz Schmidt. Parts of it sound like Verklarte Nacht to me. Some of it even sounds like early Dvorak.

        I think Mahler was starting to tear harmony apart much like Scriabin. I have been studying the Burleske from the 9th and that is just the wildest piece ever. The harmony is just about to burst into atonality but somehow Mahler keeps it together. I never could see the connection before between Mahler and the 2nd Viennese school, but Mahler was on his way to deconstructing harmony much in the way that Scriabin did. That climax in the 10th has all the notes of the scale except 2 I think.

        The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. - Elbert Hubbard -9.62/-8.15

        by GustavMahler on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 10:38:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I suppose, for me, part of the similarity (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          aravir, martyc35, eve

          was in the rhythms that are used.  Like the beginning of the second movement here, the golden calf movement.  Compare that to the vulgar march rhythm of Mahler's 3rd Symphony, third movement.  And in some places in the orchestration, like the dissonant use of the trumpets.  

          I don't think Mahler was really on his way to atonalism.  Schoenberg was totally convinced that there was this thing called "progress" (in quotes) in music, that as history marched forward, so does music and it evolves upwards in a Darwinian or Marxist fashion.  Which meant he and his buds were the new mammals come to replace the dying dinosaurs.  The breakdown of tonality that we really HAD seen progressively in various composers of the time was reflected in a more compact way in Mahler's own evolution.  

          But I think Mahler used that tonal dissolution for his own personal effect that the Expressionists couldn't achieve, even Berg, who was the most Mahler-ish of the bunch.  In Mahler, the solid grip on tonality becomes slippery and uncertain.  It makes the music anxious and nostalgic.  

          Compare that to what Schoenberg was doing, like with his String Quartet #2,  which begins tonal but ends atonal.  "I feel the air of another planet," he has a singer sing in the finale.  The feeling is unearthly and strangely relaxed, like a newborn vampire that has finished a difficult and painful transformation.  Once you totally snap that tonal tether, there's nothing to grip, nothing is slippery anymore, you're just floating in atonal mist.  

          And, of course, floating can be very, very boring after a while.  It must have seemed enormously liberating to Schoenberg and his compatriots, at the time.  

  •  One hopes that if a sentient being discovers (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, ybruti, martyc35, Anna M

    the disk of Beethoven's 9th floating around out there, the being will eventually figure out what it's for at all.   We'd be lucky if there's a being out there, and if that being can hear the way we hear, and if that being can figure out that the disk is meant to be played to create sounds, and if all these elements come together and the 9th is actually listened to.  

    Or they may just think of it as a bizarrely byzantine decoration, and hang it on a wall somewhere, in a museum, for schoolchildren to gawk at, never knowing what it's for.

    Which we already do with artifacts from our own disappeared civilizations.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 11:25:13 PM PDT

    •  Since we're just IMAGINING aliens (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pico, aravir, No Exit, martyc35, eve, HowieBeale

      we might as well imagine super-intelligent aliens who can analyze the grooves and assemble a series of numbers that can be broken down into formulas for overlapping wave forms that resonate at times in intriguing mathematical ways, even if it's only viewed as numbers on paper.  

      Of course, if they're super-intelligent and cool as well, they will deduce what kind of creatures we must have been from the slim evidence on the LP, and then, in order to further understand what it means, create virtual simulations of human beings and the human race in order to understand what the significance of the LP is.  Quite a daunting task to us, but to really, super, super-intelligent and very cool aliens, why not?  

      In my ridiculous diary on The Dumbo Function (and bower birds) from a few months ago, I suggested that if we wanted to OBJECTIVELY evaluate the beauty of a piece of music, like Beethoven on the Golden LP, we could do it if we had a mathematical function that modeled all the behavior of a human being from our culture and that could then evaluate the beauty of music for us.  Call it function Dumbo(X) which when given argument X, where X is Beethoven's Ninth, gives us the result of "That is beautiful" or "That is not beautiful."

      I would argue that such a function IS possible, but that it's not necessary to construct it to prove the validity of the concept.  If it is possible, then that means that the beauty of a piece of music is as objectively "REAL" in the Platonic sense as the Taylor series for the number pi is real.  

      Through this clever rhetorical device, I've bootstrapped myself into the world of mathematics and thus made any piece of shit subjective opinion of mine into something that is objectively real.  I must say, I'm impressed with myself.  

      This came very close to being a diary on modal realism, but it was getting late, so I cut it short before then.

      •  The mother ship (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I love Wayne shorter, and I'm on my iPhone so can't find the video now, but he talks about how after a performance of his quartet's "over shadow hill way," a music union rep came up to him. It's a rapturous piece with a repetitive, slow groove, and he expected the union rep to be jaded and all business, but instead he told shorter, "I felt like you were getting me ready for the mother ship. And I wanted to come onboard."

        Not to selfpimp (warning: selfpimp coming) but I blogged recently about "new music" and the imagining of new dimensions, solar systems, etc.: Blog. Music is able to suggest these new possibilities in such uncanny ways, to help us imagine worlds we never could conceive of.

        •  I'll try to check out some other entries there (0+ / 0-)

          later.  On the one you linked to...  I worry about sounding like that.  

          I have mental issues, as all the regulars here know, and I try to express deep cosmic thoughts (and I'm actually egotistical enough to consider my thoughts deep and cosmic) in a way that still reach people.  And so I struggle for that. Reading the letter at the bottom of your blog post, I think, that's in the general area of how I feel much of the time, certainly in sentiment, but I try to think of the most coherent way of saying it.  Skating that thin edge between the inspired madness of the saint and the collected organization of a good teacher.

          Here's a diary you might like, the one I labeled Music and the Divine.  Try it out.

  •  Quite an interesting diary! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, ybruti, martyc35

    Music and more. :)

    I was particularly touched by this:

    I've listened to it so many times, I've loved it so long, know it so well, that even if everything else was taken from me and I was left naked and destitute, I would still, even then, own Schubert's Ninth.  It's in me.  I love it.  You can't take it out of my head.  
    I have never approached the memory of music quite this way before. I like it. And so many of my own favorite songs and pieces are lovers to me. What a beautiful way to think about it. Thank you.

    Thank your stars you're not that way/Turn your back and walk away/Don't even pause and ask them why/Turn around and say 'goodbye'/Just wish them well.....

    by Purple Priestess on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 03:31:56 AM PDT

  •  Your Jedi mind tricks won't work on me. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, martyc35

    ",,, the Political whorehouse that is Fox News." Keith Olbermann

    by irate on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 03:56:32 AM PDT

  •  Your end of the world conventions brought to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    martyc35, Dumbo

    mind my last moments in my university office. I had ended my connection there with some hard feelings but knew I had many other years that were valuable to me. It occurred to me that I could choose what my parting thoughts would be so I paused to choose. Very quickly it was the people I had worked with that came to mind - the post-doc so good and dear that the grad students and post-docs gave him a going away party, the RA who became a grad student and bloomed, the ex-con RA who did some of the best SCLM in the world and others. With that merry and radiant company around me I closed the door.

    Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

    by Wee Mama on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 10:44:55 AM PDT

  •  Well, I listened to the whole thing, and that's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    saying something considering that I had my own apocalypse over the past two weeks. I think he started out quite in keeping with his announced theme, but then something made him turn back to hopeful, or at least not hopeless, at the end.

    Still waiting for Dvorak, whenever you can feel right about it.

    W. H. Auden: "We must love one another or die."

    by martyc35 on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 12:06:13 PM PDT

    •  I hope you're doing okay there. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Yes, it was a little hopeful and triumphant at the end.  It seems to me less a commentary on the end of the world and more of a commentary on the war and the Nazis.  There was more room to hope about that.  

  •  In last night's "Top Comments" diary .... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oculus, Dumbo

    ..... I took at a look at the momentous debut of Van Cliburn at the 1958 inaugural Tchaikovsky competition in the Soviet Union - whose judges checked with Nikita Krushchev before awarding Cliburn 1st prize, and which resulted in his appearing on the cover of TIME Magazine and receiving a ticker-tape parade in New York.

    "We should pay attention to that man behind the curtain."

    by Ed Tracey on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 01:20:22 PM PDT

  •  I heard a a chamber music composition (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    by another refugee, Adolf Busch, this week.  He worked with Met. Opera, N.Y. Phil., and helped found Tanglewood with his son-in-law, Rudolf Serkin, who, the program notes states, was an excellent saxophone player.  Maybe the piece we heard was written for him?  Anyhow, we heard Branford Marsalis.  link

  •  You might really like Karl Amadeus Hartmann (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Who was a Webern student, but a late romantic and (!) a Bavarian anti-fascist during WWII, particularly concerto funebre for violin. I'm a 20th century musicologist but have never heard weigl. It's a lovely piece, and thanks for this and the series as a whole

    •  I think Weigl and Webern were friends... (0+ / 0-)

      I may have read that somewhere.  If so, he may have known Hartmann as well.  I'll check out Hartmann

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site