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Edward Gold
New York City

 
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Posted By Edward Gold

My website, of course, is a musical one. So it behooves me to write on the occasional musical subject. Since I have done a complete MIDI sequencing of the 1st Symphony and an almost complete 4th,  I have chosen Brahms as my subject.

 

The longest work that Brahms ever wrote was his "German Requiem" op. 45. Based on his own text from the Luther translation of the Bible (he was quite the biblical scholar!) much like  other parts of his vocal output, he chose texts which were, in his view, "universal".

 

Jesus is not mentioned anywhere in the text despite one of the translations "Therefore be patient oh my brethren, until the coming of Christ". Brahms would have had none of this and it should really read "the Lord" instead of Christ.("So seid nun geduldig, lieben Brüder, bis auf die Zukunft des Herrn.")

 

In fact, Brahms was an agnostic as he made perfectly clear in written correspondence with Herzogenberg and in conversation with Antonin Dvorak and others. That he was highly familiar with the German Bible is not in doubt but neither are his beliefs or lack of them.

 

In the "Four Serious Songs" Op. 121, written at the end of Brahms' life, he set the following text from Ecclesiastes and we might consider this the motto of this gruff  but noble, kind and admirable man:

"Who knoweth the spirit of man
that goeth upward,
and the spirit of the beast
that goeth downward to the earth?
Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better,
than that a man should rejoice in his own works;
for that is his portion:"
 

 

 

 

 


 
Posted By Edward Gold

Tom Lehrer may have said it best in his "Christmas Carol" ("Christmas time is here, by golly"). But since the 1960s when this first appeared, we have gradually become even more cynical.

 

At the present time, when the U.S. economy is really in the toilet, the prospects for the Christmas merchandising period is looking increasingly dim what with deep price cuts and general lack of money among buyers. Whether the incoming administration is going to be able to do anything about the situation seems less and less likely, at least in the near future.

 

Now, the egregious administration that has hung like an albatross around our collective necks, has been trying to justify themselves and Richard "Darth" Cheney has emerged several times from his vice-presidential bunker to do just that and to rewrite history aided and abetted by the clueless Bill Kristol in the New York Times.

 

Finally, when we ring in another year after the Christmas madness is over, I would wish that Dick Clark would bow to the inevitable and let Ryan deal with the ball-dropping alone. Things are, after all, depressing enough without  having to watch Dick which is a bummer.

 

The portrait in the attic has long reverted to its original appearance!

 

 


 
Posted By Edward Gold

Of course I am referring to the embattled Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich. This person with the haircut of an exceptionally tasteless teenager and the potty mouth of a sailor is a Democrat rather than Republican who has been caught in a financial scandal!

 

This is not unusual for any politician of any party especially one from Illinois but it can't help Barack Obama. We all hope that Barack is better than this and should not blame the situation on him.

 

Of course, Blago's alleged crimes pale beside the magnitude of those of the Bush Administration but he really needs to resign or be removed from office as soon as possible.

 

(update January 31th) Of course he was removed from office January 30th, by a vote of 59-0. As Jay Leno said "So close!"


 
Posted By Edward Gold

Last night I attended a workshop production of "Voices from Guantanamo" (see the link for information.) which is currently being done at St. Veronica's Church in Greenwich Village, New York. Much of it was quite harrowing but worthwhile and I found, though I'm not so sympathetic to the detainees' Muslim religious beliefs (I've, of course, never been sympathetic to any religious beliefs at least since my early teens.) , has made me even less sympathetic to the Bush Administration's criminal implementation of a regime of torture, illegal detension without habeas corpus and general mistreatment of those who were not convicted for any acts of terrorism.

 

Don't get me wrong: Al Qaeda and the Taliban deserve any real justice that they get.  But, while I've detested the Bush Administration from its earliest days, this has made me detest them even more, if that's possible. That these ignoramuses are in charge of anything, let alone our country, boggles the mind.

 

A recent (2/06/09)  interview on Air America of the cast headed by Duane Mazey who did the stage adaptation, was heard on Air America's Ron Reagan Show.


 
Posted By Edward Gold

I have finally finished this small (2 and a half minute) but infinitely troublesome piece yesterday and it may now be heard online. It is for full orchestra (done with samples of course.) which explains why it took so long but I also was unable to concentrate on it during the elections.

 

Written for the 2008 Nu Mu [Sic!] Festival, my original Egret photo is here reproduced in black-and-white, even if the piece itself is in color ;-)!

 

I think the fast and rhythmically complex character of the "Egret" separates the perhaps too-similar "Ramble" and "Angel" pieces and a phrase in the second slow section anticipates slightly the "Asperges" quote of the "Angel".

 

Over the next week or so, I will take steps to integrate the file on my website and elsewhere.

 

Added December  9th: I have now added the "Egret in Flight" to my multimedia gallery of the Central Park Suite on my website. The photograph here is reproduced in it's original color form in its place.