Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The unbearable fragility of beauty

By Aussiegirl

Last March 20 in The American Thinker, Vasko Kohlmayer published a beautiful short essay on the invaluable, irreplaceable gift to the human spirit of Western classical music. While reading it my thoughts went back to a concert I had attended a while back, a stunning beautiful production of that transcendental work of genius, Verdi's Requiem. As the almost unbearably beautiful music swept over and around me, I suddenly thought, "All this beauty, all this spirituality that speaks so directly to our souls, could be taken away from us, could be put on some forbidden list by some religious tyranny". Tears came to my eyes at the thought, not the tears that Verdi's music inspires, but the tears that spring from acknowledging the unbearable fragility of beauty.

The American Thinker

History has been made in the UK as three opera albums appeared in the top ten on the country’s music charts. One cannot but rejoice in this, since it is one of the great tragedies of our time that we have largely turned our back on classical music. Classical music truly stands as one of the West’s great achievements unequalled by any other cultural tradition. Where else can one find anything even remotely comparable to the magnificence of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, Mozart’s Magic Flute or Wagner’s Ring Cycle? And these are but a few examples among many.

The effort spent unlocking the treasures hidden in these works is well worth the time, for it can enrich beyond measure. A powerfully expressive means of non-verbal communication, classical music is uniquely suited to probe the deepest aspects of human experience as these are invariably un-articulable. For how can we really capture in words the mystery of God or the simultaneous coexistence of love and evil in the human heart? These and other such things can only be intuited and even that only dimly. And perhaps nothing is better suited for this than the unbounded richness and expressiveness of classical music.

Once we become aware of the untold depth and beauty of classical music we will also recognize the greatness and wisdom of the civilization that produced such splendor. This will deepen our love and appreciation of our great culture and steel our resolve to defend it against barbarians – both domestic and foreign – who would tear it down.


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