Hey All, Best Read This First:
Greetings and a warm welcome to my blog.
First things first
This blog contains words and references offensive to those who never made it through the maturation process.
The intellectually and psychologically impaired will find nothing here to enjoy.
If this applies to you, dear reader, you're welcome, and strongly encouraged to leave now. No hard feelings on my part.
I'm trying to make this clear to the 'boo hoo brigade". If you CANNOT grasp this simple concept. This page is NOT FOR YOU
REPEAT: WARNING: BLACK IRONY. NASTY SELF PISS TAKING HUMOUR. FUCK OFF NOW IF YOU CANNOT UNDERSTAND THIS. I WON'T MIND. EVER.
*PS: I'm pro Palestinian, pro animal rights in a way that pisses many people off. You should consider fucking off now if you object to this kind of thing.
PS This blog is not really fit for human consumption, it's best read as it was written, drunk on vodka or otherwise high as a kite...Enjoy...
I Feel a Burning Need to Explain This...
This is Händel.----------------------------------------------->
I find he looks a little smug, and also a little irked.I think he probably got to looking like this from all those years of kissing the King's (Henry VIII's) pompous arse. My favourite piece by Handel is from Brocke's Passion : O Donner wort,O Schrecklich Schreien. Try to listen to it. If you like it, I'll send you the music file.
<---------This is Bach, he looks a reasonable man, he had lots of children. If you've never heard any Bach, I'd recommend "Jesu, the Joy of Man's Desinring" it's very lovely. Hello Ladies, Gentlemen, and (unfortunately) the handful of brain dead kiddies that plague me with obstinate persistence. Generally speaking, I'm quite affable, however, there are some things that make me reflexively irritated. I'm certain I'm going to sound pedantic and snobbish, but I simply don't care. I have to say it. I become deeply irritated (ok to be quite honest, totally fucked off) when people refer to all music that predates popular music as "classical". Well, it isn't. Classical music refers to a particular genre and period of music. I won't bore you with the details, but essentially Western Music can be roughly divided into the following chronological phases: Ancient-Medieval-Renaissance-Baroque-Classical-Romantic then it (let's face it) devolves to 'popular'.
(I really don't think you will find anything interesting to read beyond this point)
Some further subcategories are: Music of the Catholic tradition and music of the Protestant tradition. Both are equally stunning. The whole beauty associated with European Medieval to 18th century religion haunts and obsesses me.
Very roughly, music of the Catholic tradition had it's hey day before the Protestant Reformation which (using a very arbitrary and sexy date, but it does have some truth) began with Martin Luther hammered his 95 theses to the Wittenberg Cathedral Door on October 31, 1517. This is one of the most meaningful and significant dates in Western History, the consequences of Luther's act were profound and changed the Western World and consequently, the rest of the word forever. If you remember no other date, remember this one.
Prior to the 19th century, (1800s) most people were illiterate, most were rural peasants. The later rise of an urban society (often dismal and critically impoverished)which grew up around factories and slums was a catalyst to the spread of literacy amongst the increasingly politically self aware proletarian classes, but this was no means uniform. Essentially, it was considered enough for the proletariat to understand the Bible, be submissive, and produce factory fodder offspring.
In many illiterate societies, art assumes a greater role than it does in literate ones. We no longer 'read' paintings, architecture and music the way a person of the medieval, renaissance, baroque (esp. counter Reformation) would.
Medieval man understood the material world as merely a symbol of God's Creation. He regarded the world in Platonic terms: God created the perfect ideal, and the physical world was merely a symbol of this ideal. Heaven was not found on earth (remember in those days, life was for many, "nasty, brutish, short" (Thomas Hobbes), but rather with God in the Great Beyond.
If you need a reminder of how important art was to pre literate societies, consider the iconoclasm of the Protestants, it expressed a need to rid the world of false symbols that corrupted both the spiritual interior and obscured Man's relationship with God. Classic deconstructionism: The world can be reconstructed through destruction. It's an impulse which studs all societies across all generations.
Fascinatingly, Luther and the general Protestant movement emphasized the importance of the "Word" of God. The Gutenberg printing press was invented in 1454, literacy was inch by inch penetrating and changing society. creating new subcultures and classes, the Western world was losing it's "symbolic" consciousness and becoming increasingly a society whose thoughts and thinking processes were conditioned by the linear and logical discipline of words and sentences. However to begin with, this was confined to essentially the nascent bourgeoisie and elite.
The mass illiteracy of medieval to modern societies is the the explanation for why in those times, music assumed a greater symbolic importance than it does now. Music was a way of teaching and reinforcing the prevailing social order, which prior to the rise of Capitalism, was sacred (as opposed to profane [secular]). Simply put, music was mostly a didactic tool.
One can see this especially in the music of the Catholic tradition which is much more hierarchical and architectural (as is Catholicism itself) than the music of the protestants which expressed a more spontaneous and emotional approach to religious thinking and feeling. Think Gregorian chant vs Bach and Händel, (yes, that traitorous bastard Händel had an umlaut in his name before he decided to arse kiss King Henry VIII, but that's a rant for another day)
Well gentlemen, here endeth the lesson for today.
All didacticism is deeply and ineffably dull to most people. but I don't give a fuck, I wanted to explain this.
Yours, most affably I'm sure,
Sir Fudge Esq
PS: If anyone is interested in furthering their knowledge of this otherworldly and asthetically beautiful part of European history, I would recommend Kenneth Clarke's "Civilization". It's deservedly regarded as a classic (in the 'non ephemeral' sense). Clarke is a little sneering and stuck up about German cultural achievement, which was, like it or not, world shaping. Like most British, he hates to admit when someone's better than him, which is why World War I began. It's nonetheless a brilliant entry point into the art and mentality which shaped Western society (for better or for worse), as we know it today.
One of the next things I feel a burning need to think about is the issue of state sovereignty. Won't that be a fucking hoot.
PPS: To give an example of the synthesis of religion and philosophy with music that existed in the mind of Medieval European society, consider "Equable Temperament" I don't have the space to explain this in detail, but essentially, some musical notes were not used in medieval times simply because they did not accord with Medieval ideas of perfect mathematical scale and were therefore considered profane (they contradicted ideas of the Sacred perfection of God's Creation).
To have included them would have been to produce the music of the Devil, the "Devils Music". This is why medieval music sounds so very strange to us, they simply eschewed the use of musical notes which did not accord with their deistic world view. I find this example of how differently my ancestors viewed the world eerily, weirdly , fascinatingly, picturesque.
Posted by Sir Fudge Esq at 3:54 AM