My Purpose

My Purpose

The purpose of this blog is to help people understand that music can be more then just entertainment, and what those things are. I want be able to help people with this blog. I don't know everything about music, I am still studying it, however, I will share what I have found. I hope you will be enlighted and edified by what I have to share. I worry that some people might turn a deaf ear to my blog if they read something on this blog that they don't agree with. I respect your beliefs. I don't agree with everything I read either. But I know you can find something that can help and interest you, if you just keep reading.

"Quotes Worth Mentioning"


When asked where his inspiration came from, Johannes Brahms said, "I immediately feel vibrations that thrills my whole being. These are the Spirit illuminating the soul power within, and in this exalted state, I see clearly what is obscure in my ordinary moods: Then I feel capable of drawing inspiration from above, as Beethoven ... Straighway the ideas flow in upon me, directly from God, and not only do I see distinct themes in my mind's eye but they are clothed in the right forms, harmonies, and orchestration. Measure by measure, the finished product is revealed to me when I am in those rare, inspired moods." "The powers from which all truly great composers like Mozart, Schubert, Bach and Beethoven drew their inspiration is the same power that enabled Jesus to work his miracles. It is the same power that created our earth and the whole universe"
("Talks with Great Composers", Arthur M. Abell)

"Give me power over he who shapes the music of a nation, and I care not for who shapes it laws"
Napolian Bonaparte

“Intellectual enlightenment consists of instruction in the arts, numbers, history, speech, and government. Music consummates a man’s life, giving his rituals meaning. Music has a trensforming effect on its listeners, and should be the first principle of government.” -The Teachings of Confucius.

I quote some remarks between,Gene R. Cook, and Mik Jagger made a few years ago:
Cook: "I have the opportunity to be with a lot of young people. Many say your music does not affect them adversely in any way. Others say it effects them in a very bad way. What is your opinion? What is your impact?”
Jagger "Our music is calculated to drive the kids to sex. It's not my fault what they do. It's up to them. I'm just making a lot of money.”
Cook: He was in Mexico making a profane and pornographic music video because the cost is 1/3 there. In addition it is easier to produce such videos there at the moment. He explained that though such videos with explicit sexual behavior is illegal on US national television, it soon will be, and they want to have the videos ready. Now not only audio pornography can be portrayed, but they can view it as well. He was making more money this way."
Jagger:“It doesn't matter what you do in life, there are no rules. There is no god. You can take whatever you want. It doesn't matter."

"To encourage literature and the arts is the duty which every good citizen owns to his country."
George Washington

"Music has the power of producing a certain effect on the moral character of the soul, and if it has the power to do this, it is clear that the young must be directed to music and must be educated in it."

(more qoutes to come)

PLEASE NOTE: It would greatly benefit the reader to follow blog postings from the first post to the most recent. Using the Blog Archive in the left column of the page to jump to the oldest posts. For now I will see if I can find a way to display the posting in chronilogical order, first post to the latest post.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Concert Hall Religious Observation

(this is some information that I received from Dr. Michael Ballam, this information is unedited notes of Dr. Ballam, hence there are the spelling error and typos. It is my intent to not edit them for the purpuse of not risking to change the meaning of the text. It is my desire to inform you of these errors so as to not take away any credibiliy from Dr. Ballam because of possible impressions that these mistakes may have on people to lower his credibility.)

Concert Hall Religious Observation
The telling of a tale has been basic to human history. The larger the story, the larger the setting. In musical terms, the largest secular telling of stories would be opera. In the sacred realm, Oratorio would be the genre. Christianity has used dramatic musical expression of important stories since the beginning. There are a good many stories from the old and new testaments, upon which Christian observance springs, which have great potential for musical expression as oratorios. Of all the dramatic stories in Christianity, the recounting of the last few hours of the life of the Jesus Christ lend itself to musical expression. The telling of that story is referred to as the passion period. The passion is a specific oratorio. The passion period takes place between the moment Jesus’ 12th apostle (the only one not from the region of the Galilee) asks the Sanhedrin how much they would give him to betray Jesus, until the time he is laid into the borrowed tomb of Joseph of Aramathea. The passion has been set to music by a number of fine composers throughout history but no one more remarkable than those set by J.S. Bach. We have the scores of two passions set by J.S. Bach: The Passion According to St. Matthew, and the Passion According to St. John (the former was discovered and produced by Felix Mendelssohn in 1829). We have no way of knowing whether Bach wrote more passions, but reason would indicated that he did. Let’s examine the opening overture and chorus of the The St. Matthew Passion by J.S. Bach. Though Bach’s exclusive professional association as a composer was in a sacred environment working for the church, he was very dramatic. The overture begins with a pulsating rhythm in the bass, which climbs inexorably up in pitch measure by measure. Could Bach be depicting the throbbing heart of the Nazarene, condemned by Jewish Law and sentenced by Roman intervention, as he climbs the via dolorosa, (or way of sorrow) towards Golgotha? Could the mournful sound of a high solo violin be the cry of a female meaningful in his life by the name of Mary? Regardless of his intention, we are riveted to that moment of supreme drama in Jerusalem during the Passover season two millenniums ago. Few composers in such brevity have commanded more attention. We then hear two responding choirs (responsorials) asking and answering questions. ???????????????????????????? The complex, and mathematically acute settings of these varied texts make the musical conversations interesting and stimulating while still retaining intelligibility. Then as the questions are answered and a sense about who this person with the cross it, the unison chorus of boys voices soar over the top of the rest with a familiar cantus firmus, or pre-existing tune that would have been very familiar to Bach’s congregation. So much so, that it may even have solicited vocal participation at that moment. Even if the congregation did not join in, the recognition factor would have brought more active involvement into the service. Bach’s intention was to perform this work in his congregation a week before Easter. It is unfathomable that he would have ever thought the work would be considered a masterwork, performed on the major concert all stages of the world. Bach’s devout nature led him to devote his talents and life to worship music within a very small circle of influence. He often inscribed his works with the initials J.J. meaning Jesu Juva or Jesus help me. At the conclusion he often inscribed S.D.G meaning Soli Dei Gloria or to God alone be the glory. He believed that ?????????? Bach’s phenomenal ability to employ counterpoint, the simultaneous sounding of two or more voices, maintaining a harmonious balance in spite of differences in the voices, was employed to superiority in the St. Matthew Passion and the Mass in B minor.. Bach was also a standard in using familiar works, such as the popular Lutheran hymns, Ein Fest Burg (A Mighty Fortress) and Jesu Meine Freude (Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring) setting them in complexly beautiful counterpoint. It is no wonder, given Bach’s astounding mathematical mind and fascination with numerology, that his works were among the first to be synthesized and played by computers in the latter part of the 20th century. Bach’s personal set of scriptures are replete with notations in the margins indicating his feelings bout the role of music in God’s realm and in the means of man to aspire to heavenly heights. ??????? In contrast, is the life and work or Georg Friedrich Händel. Born the same year, 1685, Handel was principally a secular composer, making his early fortune and fame in the realm of Italian Opera. Few composers of history have enjoyed contemporary success as did this German-Italian-English transport who traversed the globe in search of one monumental success after another. Drawn to England in the latter stages of his life for the prospects of Oratorio work, given the fact that England had the chorus and financial resources to support this genre, Handel set forth to London. As his familiarity in Italy began to cloy, England seemed the fuel needed to re-flame his superior career. Fraught by set backs such as a disabling stroke and struggles to seek financial backing for his musical ventures, Handel set upon setting English sections of the Old and New Testaments, particularly the prophecies of Isaiah, Malachi, the Psalms and the Gospels, to music. The herculean task of bringing together the resources to score, arrange and orchestrate the monumental corpus which became The Messiah, stands as an ensign in the annals of musical composition. It is said that he cloistered himself for 28 days to carry forth the task of re-arranging old pieces, create new ones, and order the entirety of the work into one organic opus. Upon withdrawing from his studio where he had eaten very little in the entire project, and had worked almost continually, he is reported to have said: ????? Handel’s formidable gift of counterpoint is demonstrated beautifully in his re-setting of a duet for two treble voices entitled Nein, ich werde nimmer trauen, which in The Messiah becomes For Unto Us a Child is Born. Likewise his superior dramatic flare shines forth in his heroic Hallelujah, which concludes Part II of the oratorio. History has not always recognized genius at first hearing, and Handel had a disheartenly difficult time seeking the financial backing to mount the first series of debuts of the work. The official premiere of the work took place in Dublin, Ireland in 1743??? paid for by Handel himself. The early life of The Messiah was a solid disappointment financially, and drained Handel’s formidable fortune. At the end of his life, when it became clear that The Messiah was becoming financially viable, Handel determined to donate the proceeds to a children’s hospital in London. ?????? Born in 1756, and spanning a lifetime of just over 35 years, W.A. Mozart (1756-1891) holds a unique position in music history. Composing in pen, given that he had no need to make corrections, as did his colleagues, he was often held in suspicion and even contempt by some colleagues. He attested to his works being “divine” in their derivation, hence he viewed himself more as a scribe from a higher source, than as an originator. He said One of his last works is the exquisite Ave Verum Corpus (holy true corps, a lullaby to the body of Christ). It had a dedication to his beloved wife, Constanze and carries with it the purity of expression that was unique to Mozart. The way with which the voices rise and fall in the ebb and flow of expression is a hallmark of Mozart’s genius. Being a student of Josef Haydn, the most celebrated composer/teacher of his time, Mozart and Haydn could not have been on more opposite ends of a scale. Mozart’s pensive, sometimes maudlin nature, was not at all like the jubilant, pragmatic, up-beat nature of his more mature teacher, Josef Haydn. The majority of Haydn’s works are written in the joyous, major mode, a tendency which sometimes brought him criticism. His response was:???? An example of his jubilant style is found in The Heavens are telling the Glory of God from The Creation by Josef Haydn One of the most remarkable stories of perseverance and overcoming adversity, is the life of Ludwig van Beethoven. Born in the small town of Bonn, Germany in 1770, he was the victim of abuse and illness as a child. In adult life, he suffered the most painful malady to effect a musician, deafness. His ultimate recognition of his never being able to hear again, he wrote his brother Karl from Heiligestadt, Austria. It is enlightening to climb into his mind through his own words and feel his pain. Beethoven had a devoutly spiritual nature as well. In Beethoven’s oratorio Christ on the Mount of Olives, we hear his titanic nature grappling with fate, yet praising God in a mighty Hallelujah. Enduring the affliction of painful shyness, Johannes Brahms struggled to bring his creative works to the public. Had it not been for the generous support of his friends Robert and Clara Schumann (also composers and performers of great renown), Brahms’ music would probably never reached our ears. Schumann edited a periodical called Die Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, or the New Magazine for Music. In that periodical, Schumann introduced the music of contemporary composers, and most particularly, Johannes Brahms. The Schumanns did more than just that, and actually took Brahms into their home to live. The death of Brahms’ mother was an enormous blow for him. He had a difficult time dealing with his grief and coming to any sort of personal resolution. His friends suggested that he work through his grief by writing a Requiem Mass dedicated to the memory of his mother. Brahms felt the message of the traditional Catholic Requiem Mass did not convey his own personal conviction about death and the hereafter. Hence he added some segments of New Testament scripture as well as the Psalms. He also believed strongly that his Requiem should be in the vernacular (language of the people), thereby setting it in German. The movement based upon the 84th Psalm of David, How lovely is thy dwelling place, is an example of the majesty of solace of his conviction about the nature of death and heaven In contrast to the hopeful, positive outlook of Brahms Requiem, is the foreboding, almost frightening musical depiction of the “day of wrath, day of judgement” or Dies Irae from the Requiem of Giuseppe Verdi. He pulls out all the dramatic stops intended to put the fear of God into his listeners about the inevitable day of reckoning. He succeeds monumentally! The tradition of setting spiritual, religious, mystical texts to music in the form of an oratorio is not limited to the 19th Century, but continues on to today. Springing from the popular culture of the British rock group, The Beatles, singer/composer Paul McCartney has produced an oratorio called The Standing Stone. McCartney’s premise of creation is not that of the Judo-Christian belief articulated by Moses in the Torah (Genesis). His is a primordial view that the earth sprang forth from a “big bang” and life began as a single cell heated up and sprang forth a a living entity. Probably the most widely accepted Requiem of the latter part of the 19th Century, is that of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Perhaps due to his worldwide fame relating to Phantom of the Opera, as well as his recognized craft, this work is deserving of attention, particularly the Pie Jesu, or Sweet Jesus. In it’s sweet melodic simplicity sung by soprano, boy soprano and chorus, it ends with words taken from the Agnus dei movement of the Mass: Agnus dei, qui tollis peccata mundi dona eis requiem, Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world, grant us rest. This peaceful rendition is a hallmark of 20th century popular religious culture. The desire to tell articulate big stories and comment on belief seems to be a salient aspect in the nature of man. It is one form of celebration that has continued from the beginning, and appears to be going strong today, whether in the concert hall or church forum. Confucius (551-475 B.C.) said: “Intellectual enlightenment consists of instruction in the arts, numbers, history, speech, and government. Music consummates a man’s life, giving his rituals meaning. Music has a trensforming effect on its listeners, and should be the first principle of government.” -The Teachings of Confucius.

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