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Art Music Sunday

ek hornbeck's picture

I know this guy I call Lambert even though that's not really his name any more than I'm 120 years old (aww, c'mon, look it up) and he runs a site just like I do and I know he scrambles for content the same and I feel a certain amount of sympathy for that position but I so very rarely post anything except Duncan Black style "Hey look at this interesting thing over here" that I'm reluctant to contribute.

On the other hand, in support of my bloggy peers and acquaintances (a collection of riff-raff and villainy rarely found outside of Mos Eisley) I regularly talk about "art" music and rather than fry your minds with the Sunday slime I vainly imagine you might prefer a trip in time back to the long-haired days of Chopin and Beethoven.

This week's installment is about Romanticism, one of my least favorite movements except to listen to.

So, Romanticism. I'm conflicted.

In some ways it's like admitting you have a sick fascination for fascism (which is by the way the political movement most closely associated with the intellectual impulse).

Romanticism (also the Romantic era or the Romantic period) was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to 1850. Partly a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, it was also a revolt against the aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment and a reaction against the scientific rationalization of nature. It was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature, but had a major impact on historiography, education and the natural sciences. Its effect on politics was considerable and complex; while for much of the peak Romantic period it was associated with liberalism and radicalism, its long-term effect on the growth of nationalism was probably more significant.

The movement validated intense emotion as an authentic source of aesthetic experience, placing new emphasis on such emotions as apprehension, horror and terror, and awe—especially that which is experienced in confronting the sublimity of untamed nature and its picturesque qualities: both new aesthetic categories. It elevated folk art and ancient custom to a noble status, made spontaneity a desirable characteristic (as in the musical impromptu), and argued for a natural epistemology of human activities, as conditioned by nature in the form of language and customary usage. Romanticism reached beyond the rational and Classicist ideal models to raise a revived medievalism and elements of art and narrative perceived to be authentically medieval in an attempt to escape the confines of population growth, urban sprawl, and industrialism.

Enlightenment is too sterile and demanding. The raw reductionism of rationality leads directly to a mundane Midlands mindset of grinding machination. Creativity and animal passion replaced with cogwheels of clockwork conformity. How is an artist to express themselves by appealing emotionally to the audience within the rigid formality of classical conventions?

Silly. With more cowbells of course.

Yeah Romantic Music is the skull thumping big hair skinhead (part of it is ignoring the cacaphony of cognitive dissonance and instead succumbing to volume of environmental noise and pressure of your contemporaries) pierced tattoo sporting rebellious child of "art" that became instead the ironically normal bastard of spiritual sanctity until displaced by the truly nerdy in a snot sleeved glasses pushing tartan flannel shirt kind of way by the self-awareness of modernist (have I mentioned I'm in therapy?), post-modernist (therapy cures nothing and I need the eggs), and contemporary (without chemicals life itself would be impossible) environment.

Have I mentioned I'm into Techno?

I wanna tell you 'bout Texas Radio and the Big Beat
Comes out of the Virginia swamps
Cool and slow with plenty of precision
With a back beat narrow and hard to master

No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn.

In addition to inspiring Hitler and Francis Ford Coppola Wagner's Ring Cycle embodies every bad thing you've ever heard about Opera.

I love the smell of Napalm in the morning. It smells like... victory.

Anyway, let the fat lady sing and get your sitz on for 15 hours of The Ring.

Das Rheingold

Die Walkure



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ek hornbeck's picture
Submitted by ek hornbeck on

I'm so vain, I know this song is about me.

Submitted by lambert on

A combination of RL stress, the advent of the heating season, which means I have to do a lot of work around the house, and the slowly dawning realization that doing the 12 points properly is, in essence, writing a book combined to momentarily fell me.

It's not like there's nothing to blog about....