Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Alpine Symphony - Richard Strauss

Eine Alpensinfonie
My images, only one I actualy made in the Alps, can you guess which one?
My interpretation of the scenes...
  • Night
    Moon over Murrysville
  • Sunrise
  • the Ascent
    Cucumber Falls
  • Entry into the Woods
    tiny mushroom
  • Walking along the Brook
    Fern over a lazy river
  • at the Waterfall
    Ohiopyle waterfall
  • a Visual Feature / apparition
    grant me 3 wishes
  • on Flowery Meadows
  • on the Alp / Pasture
    I Can't stop loving you..
  • Wrong Path through the Thicket
    Don't leave now...
  • on the Glacier
    reflections of grass
  • Moments of Danger
    Hercules waiting for his replacement
  • at the Summit
    Austria / Österreich -- 1982
  • Vision
    alive and bright
  • the Fog Rises
    a grand day
  • the Sun is Gradually Obscured
    Something beautiful awaits!
  • Elegy
    beautiful day
  • Calm before the Storm
  • Thunder and storm, Descent
    Moss at Buttermilk Falls
  • Sunset
    Subtle shades enhanced
  • the Journey Ends
    sunset the other day
  • Night
    3 planets

Eine Alpensinfonie

Apparently Strauss viewed his work as more than descriptive, Austria / Österreich -- 1982but rather "philosophical" --
"in it there is: moral purification through one's own strength, liberation through work, and the worship of eternal, glorious nature."

I believe that through current financial and political strife, this symphony is a perfect way to cut through all the events of the world which may overwhelm. Today we can learn to abide or respect these words. What better way to deal with the overwhelming political conflicts than through 'moral purification through one's own strength,' for one's own truth and compass should not be deflected by everything around us. We should stand for ourselves and walk, as if we were on an alpine journey, through the strife with a smile on our face and our own strength to guide us and keep us moving with grace. Keep in mind this symphony was completed and performed in Berlin and Philadelphia during WWI. That fact seemed to escape the abridged historical guides I've read.

'Liberation through work' - this enduring ethic is timeless. Now we must imagine the work that Strauss put forth to complete this magnificent and grand symphonic poem, the height and breadth of a grand and majestic alpine mountain. His own liberation was through his work to complete this epoch in epoch times. We should emulate his resolve!

'The worship of eternal, glorious nature.' - In the final analysis, this is the one true saving grace for all of us. A common theme that none can deny, a simple base upon which we can all stand in agreement, that the beauty of nature is worthwhile. So to hear this beauty in such a grand and aural poem as the one fashioned by Strauss and played by our symphony is an experience I anxiously await. I hope the experience I can grasp and hold on to, to undergo a sort of transformation of spirit in our own uncertain times of turmoil. We don't need change, we need a beautiful expression to hold on to, a moral regeneration to our own deeply held beliefs, a work ethic to grasp and employ in times ahead. Our liberation will be one of truth and beauty through nature.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Pittsburgh, Bohemia and the wild wild west

Three completely different pieces were presented at tonight's concert. Since two of them were presented in the first half, and I've never heard them before, it is difficult for me to remember all the aspects I know were floating through my mind at the time. "The Good Life" made its premiere. Well the good life started out cheerfully, full of smiles, and it ended up that way, and along the way there was strife. But what I remember was the quality of the music. The Mendelssohn Choir was fabulous, as were the soloists, and mixed with the symphonic music, the combination made a big impact on me. I wish I could hear it again for comparison and to reinforce my impressions. To me the music was fun, not in the same sense as the symphony to follow the intermission. It was purely a joy to listen and to watch this beautiful composition performed so beautifully. I was smiling the entire time.

The links, photo and post concert chat probably do a better job than do my words.

After the symphony I joined some friends at a restaurant across the street, including my friend who I've known since 1980, originally from Romania where he grew up. I wondered if Romania was part of the original Bohemia, the home of Dvorák. His reply was that from America, it might appear they were the same, but not so close from over there. However, they were neighbors in a sense. My analogy was to compare Dvorák with my friend. Now we know that Dvorák came to America and stayed a while. Here he wrote much of the symphony we heard tonight. My friend, from Romania, came to the USA by escaping the communist rule when he was still a youth. But my idea is that they both came here and were impressed by the vastness, perhaps by reputation of being 'big' or by actually experiencing our breadth. Perhaps this symphony represents the idea of America, our freedoms, our vastness, our individualism, and our wild wild west. My friend tells me of a story when he want on vacation out west and played the 4th movement of this symphony again and again. His description is that the force of this movement eloquently describes this land. I've had that same idea myself. Now the historians tell us differently, that Dvorák didn't experience that directly, but wrote much of this in New York. That his symphony was sort of an email message back home because he was homesick. That version isn't very romantic. I like my version better: What is to prevent us from believing that his imagination did not conceive of this vastness when composing? It is the idea I like to keep, to have and to hold in my particular imagination of this symphony, the beauty of the land, the country and the music seem to all go together, however it might have come about. It just is, and it is, beautiful!

Well we discussed this at the table, and another fellow who was born in the Czech Republic (Bohemia) agreed with my idea that we should best listen to music, especially new music, and interpret for ourselves what it means, without influences from the written words to tell us what the music is really supposed to mean. Art is abstract, and why force people into a mold of understanding. I listen first, form my own opinion, using my own creative mind to do the interpretations and colorations. Then I read the notes to see what it was 'supposed' to be, and I compare. Sometimes they are the same, but more often than not, they differ, and what's wrong with that. It's supposed to be fun and entertaining. I guess it's the individualist in me, the wild wild west rugged individualist, that likes to play it my way, without being told, that feels that way, but I found at least one other who agreed at the table.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

This is a new country

reflections of grassDvorák New World Symphony.
This music invokes these words in my soul.
One must hear the music to understand the words, as I do. Written today, but heard in my mind many times before, while listening to this beautiful music.

1st movement

Come with me,
hear with me,
stand with me,
see with me,
a country..


yes, my country,
blend with me gently,
green and sultry,
roll with me bluntly


so heavenly blue,
as refreshingly new,
and everything grew,
oh forever renew


sweet, my country,
love the land nearby
flying as a buckeye
meandering into the sky
hovering over my eye


as my country,
living beneath a tree
as my country,
living as free as me


don't you see it
don't you hear it
don't you sense it
now in transit


as a country,
wide expansive country
live a country,
as a new world country

2nd movement

This is my country,
land that I do love,
growing free, part of me,
gather what I'm of.


Come with me
see with me
what we dearly love
slumbering above


This is my country,
revel in my land,
mountains high, rivers ply,
footsteps in the sand

3rd movement

consummate freedom
try my liberty,
passionate nectar
quaff me heartily,

crystalline humor
wit is levity - brevity - remedy

4th movement

This is a new country,
tranquil as a dove,
one new world discovery,
forever a land that I love

Welcome to my country,
seen high from above,
this land is an ecstasy,
said highly enough, I love

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Revered again

As is my wont, I'm writing poetry to psych myself up for a Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra concert this weekend. These are my words, just written to the music of Sergei Rachmaninoff : Symphony No. 2revered again

Revered again

Often when I'm up against a wall,
and the very simple words I scrawl,
easily reveal my thoughts to you,
as words I hope that do enthrall

Exposing whence my sleeping heart did fall,
back out onto center stage again,
and the wonder of our dream as when,
I could really have that kind of gall

dares to tell
that kind of truth
in this very soft and cloistered world,
can be cheered
but not revered
until they're mired
in dire understandings least unfurled

Abstract wisdom of the past is clear,
mixed with current subtle sounds I hear,
probing rhythm of my thoughts appear,
I'm trusting you my dear

Reveal our truth
inspire trust as freedom
unaffected nature as simplicity

I believe Pittsburgh is projecting wall art on the buildings this weekend: