A musical interlude
Another weekend and as the election draws ever nearer the level of desperation and rage grows daily on the dem side, to the point where one almost despairs. Ann Coulter being "pied" by two hoodlums, Bush/Cheney headquarters being vandalized and attacked all over the country, political signs on private property being stolen on a daily basis, even in my quiet suburban and ostensibly "civilized" neighborhood. Finally one grows weary of the ugliness and must find retreat and succor in the verities, those things which give us sustenance. And as I always do, I find I turn to music, which has powers to soothe even the most savage Republican breast. Whether it can soothe the democrats only they can answer.
But let us consider a fine composer named Frederick Delius. Having recently received some new CD's from Amazon of his music I was moved to do a little research on the net and learn a bit more about him.
Frederick Delius was an English composer of German parentage, (1862 - 1934). He lived for a time in Florida where he ran an orange grove. He wrote the sublime and beautiful "Florida Suite" while living there, and was heavily influenced by the negro spirituals he heard. I found a website with much information and a page of Delius's quotes on music, and I was so moved I thought I would publish them here, as a balm to all political souls in need of some healing at this contentious time. You don't need to know a thing about music to appreciate that this man was a true artist -- in the truest sense of the word -- and it doesn't matter the form -- writer, artist, painter, sculptor, novelist, poet, musician, filmmaker, etc. -- you have to remain true to yourself and your inner core. Beethoven would have agreed with every word. That's why we read -- and why we listen to music -- or look at fine paintings -- or watch great plays -- to break bread for a moment with geniuses of the past (or present), who inform our lives and our souls with their wisdom and insight.
"WHAT HE SAID"
A COLLECTION OF QUOTES BY FREDERICK DELIUS (Compiled by Bill Thompson)
Emotion is the flesh and the blood of music. Nothing is so wonderful as elemental feeling; nothing is more wonderful in art than elemental feeling expressed intensely.
Music is a cry of the soul. It is addressed and should appeal instantly to the soul of the listener. It is a revelation, a thing to be reverenced.
It is only that which cannot be expressed otherwise that is worth expressing in music.
The only way for any man to write music is to follow the line of his own feelings.
Always stick to your likings - there are profound reasons for them.
The real musical genius writes for no other purpose but to express his own soul, and in so doing finds life's greatest satisfaction and joy.
Give vent to the expression of your feelings in your own way, and you will eventually find it.
Music is a way of expressing one's feelings; and one ought to follow one's own inclinations entirely, otherwise one will never attain to any intensity of expression or emotion - the two essential things in music.
No composer whose chief idea is to be brilliant or startling ever lasts. Cleverness counts for very little, in my opinion.
I believe that harmony is entirely a matter of instinct.
In music, which ought to be the expression of emotion, only that which is based on emotion is capable of development, and nothing based on technique or on anything objective will develop into anything but mere intellectuality.
You can't make music out of theories. When a man has to write about his methods of composition you may be sure he has nothing to say.
Form is nothing more than imparting spiritual unity to one's thought. It is contained in the thought itself, not applied as something that already exists.
The Negroes showed a truly wonderful sense of musicianship and harmonic resource in the instinctive way in which they treated a melody, and, hearing their singing in such romantic surroundings, it was then and there that I first felt the urge to express myself in music.
Visit the Delius website to learn more about the man and his music at:
Well -- it looks like there is another Delius lover out there, and such a nice comment it was I just had to post it on the main board so others can appreciate it. Thanks, Pindar, for the compliments and beautiful thoughts on Delius and his music. And thanks for the tip on other English composers, I'm only familiar with Vaughn Williams of the ones you mentioned -- so something to look forward for me.
Comment: Pindar said...
After posting comments on the veritas and amicus veritatis posts and feeling more and more frustrated and angry, I came to this lyrical post by Aussiegirl, and I relaxed, my mood mellowed, and suddenly life became a thing of beauty, not of ugliness. Not only does she have a shrewd and insightful mind on matters political, and a wonderful sense of humor and play, she also, as it turns out, likes one of my favorite composers, Delius. I find that English composers, like Delius, Vaughn Williams, Walton, Butterworth, all have a beautiful sense of melody, sometimes dreamy, sometimes passionate, full of woodland glades and autumn paths. And their titles are often so evocative, for example Delius's "Over the Hills and Far Away", Butterworth's "Banks of Green Willow", Walton's "Belshazzar's Feast". There's a poetry in English music that's different from other music, peaceful, rural, lush, captivating, sui generis. Perhaps I've gone on too long, but music is the one art that burrows itself right into your soul (perhaps it's because the vibrations set up corresponding vibrations within) and rests there and pours in beauty without any intellectual work on your part. Thanks also to Aussiegirl for posting Delius' wonderful comments on his art. What I have tried to say somewhat laboriously he has said very succinctly: "Music is a cry of the soul". Just what we need in these soulless times!