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University of Utah radio presents music and other four letter words. Here is your host associate professor of music at the University of Utah Paul bad. I suppose if I didn't believe in the possibility of a hogwash fairy. How about Auden statement that. Aloneness is the basic condition of man. Taking basic to mean something like Essential I wouldn't have. Elected. To talk about the music which is more than music. But it occurs to some of you no doubt as it ought to and that for some time now we've come some distance from that music which was more than itself which was the route to. Whatever is ultimate whatever is the place of oneness which people may enjoy and maybe even the people and things. We are. A
long way down the road from the bean up player. Who. Has created his sort of communal ecstasy. In the Far East. And a long way from the folk artists into his sort of drone didn't. And TIME STOPPED expression of what he regards as synonymous experience that is thing the sensibility of the whole. Himself. The Woody Guthrie type is the spokesman for his people. We're some distance from Beethoven who vibrates noises sometimes hushes us. Out of our senses. You know who really I suppose is the perfect representation of what Plato said the poet ought to be. That is before the poet can speak you must be out of his mind. And so Beethoven believes that not only must the poet be out of his mind but that it is possible for him to send all of us out of our minds to blow the mind. To destroy it somehow. You know so far as ourselves are concerned. And this is because all these people.
Moving up player the folk singer the Beethoven's the Cray Shaw's writing their poetry and the Walt Whitman's from time to time trust somehow in a place where one ness is achievable and disparity all of the separateness the individuality the objectivity that we that we seem to prize so highly in academic institutions in the United States. Are shown as illusions. But it is clear that conventions collapse and and monuments crumble and sometimes the lone and level sands stretch. Far away. And someone is. Standing there amid the desert with no all. With no terror with no feeling approaching the numinous with no sense of exhilarating symbol. Except maybe that emptiness that void that he sees being just that an emptiness and not a
fullness. Avoid a sigh and loneliness and maybe and maybe at some proximate. Level we come to Auden who says that the basic condition of man is aloneness. But maybe what he means is that. One of the basic sensibilities of 20th century men is a feeling of solitariness so that sometimes when the world falls in ruin or societies collapse we are confronted with. The Werther's who write desperate letters to. The friend who is always far away. And I suppose were he there to speak to them that the workers would become inarticulate because they write better letters than they can say things to people who are close by. Or we are confronted with the Carl Philipp Emanuel box who cannot rise to this to the level and when the occasion of their great fathers who trust in something else or the jazz
Waldo's in the mire and CEOs and the Greco and the Tintoretto those in the Dunns and the hamlets all of whom but the time. Which is out of joint. And somehow I feel. If they feel at all that they are responsible to it and that it is a curse and spite. Which has. Sort of elected them to try to set things right. And if they don't feel that they are elected to improve or change your view that in fact change is possible to the world in which they find themselves and then death and darkness inevitably seems some kind of welcome and or a beginning for finding one's way to the truth. And everything which is lit in this world everything which is shown everything which is defined. Everything which occupies its
space. And knows its limits. Is in the end separate detached alone and somehow not Werther. Not CPE Baha. Not Beckett's not Hamlet not Schubert. And as long as we're there. It's interesting that in 1895 just oh a lot three years before he died Schubert was writing a letter to his father. How about a friend in which ironically. A little bitterly he. Who speaks about the young man this way he probably says Schubert to his dad still keeps crawling to the cross. And he will certainly have imagined himself to be ill another seventy seven times and to have been on the point of death nine times as if death were the worst thing that could
happen to us mortals. If you could only take a look at these divine mountains and lakes whose aspect threatens to stifle and devour us he would not be so attached to this petty existence. As not to think it a piece of great good fortune to become Phi did once more. To be in comprehensible power of the earth. To make new life. I'm this not unlike Mozart who has made his a pact with death it's not unlike Werther. Who sees somehow the end of life as the beginning of truth. Let the Lord let the good catholic which should be supposed to be and let the good Catholic friend keep going back to the mass and saying those things and crawling to the cross. And trying to shore up something against his rule and or forestall death somehow. But death in the end may be the only answer
and for Schubert it is not a personal individual continuity at all but a. And absolute passion back into the stuff which surrounds us and the stuff which surrounds us is not us. And is not friendly to us. It is. Stifling. He says. I don't go out and look at a mountain at eighteen hundred and twenty five and feel grander. I don't look at the lakes stretching at some distance and feel the glory of God my heart doesn't leap up when I behold a rainbow in the sky at all but it. It oppresses it stifles it threatens it wants to devour. And yet somehow it never will because it is always out there and I am always here and and nature and I have nothing to do with one another. Even in his better days when he when he could sort of for a moment bubble with a book or or a turn on when the sun came out. And there was inevitably as in the
famous cycle discern the miller and the note a suicide of melancholy of depression. One would say they were there in a moment when everything falls out of focus and yeah and he begins to sense that he is not of this stuff and not for this world. And finding that sensibility becomes so strong for him that the songs of late Schubert are almost unbearable to listen to and I can't think of any excuse except maybe a suicidal one for listening to the 24 songs of divin talk I saw in succession. That a bunch of terrifying songs he called them because each one of them was its own special private terror. And it didn't matter what one looked at in a village. A crow a signpost a weathervane whatever. It had nothing to do with him except somehow to exist as. Another. Solitary symbol of
Schubert the wanderer and his for ever solitary and that's I suppose his sensibility was in that respect. Very modern. Probably among the more memorable of Schubert songs though not the nicest to listen to is the one which terminates. The Winter Journey. This one is called. The organ grinder. And considering that Schubert was following Beethoven around Vienna and longing to speak to him but not of course being able to sense the master was deaf and even if he wanted to he wouldn't have had courage enough to say anything. One can hardly imagine two temperaments so removed from one another. As far as the things in which they trust and then the possibility I suppose of relating to them. And curiously enough it is in Beethoven whose eyesight is failing and whose And whose hearing has long since failed who comes closest to the sense of alternate communion. He was old and and alone more alone I suppose actually physically.
And then Schubert could imagine and is the one who see who pretends at least to have discovered the truth of the oneness of us all and Seubert with all his faculties. And all of his sensibilities working for him as soon as the modern man who somehow can't make any sense out of it there beyond the village says the last song of the winter journey. There are some plays there is an organ grinder standing with numb fingers grinding the best way he can use Of course the symbolism. The music maker who has to beg in public for any kind of recompense barefoot on the ice he staggers back and forth on his little plate is all with him. Nobody wants to hear him. Nobody looks at him even the dogs sort of snarl at his heels. But he lets the dog go by just as it will. He grinds away his old organ is never still. You strange old man. Shall I go with you.
When you. Grind away on your organ making music for my song. What. I'll. Hold my.
Car. Why. Is he. Your.
Leader. Good evening. And if it were not explicit enough there is this song not so well known perhaps by Schubert. Called at their concerts. So could. A monk this time looks thoughtfully out from the grill of his cell. Which is a good place for Schubert to begin. He isolated men detached and even barred to film from everything outside. He watches the procession of knights in shining armor setting out on their journey to the holy land under the banner of the cross so that out there is the panoply the procession the movement the carnival effect. I supposed U.S. would call it. But when their ship was lost to his side.
He feels that even for him who remains behind with the semblance the look the aspect and the calling of the holy men. Life is. Just another wandering. Through deserts and stormy seas. A crusade of some kind. Maybe to a promised land. The.
You were lucky we were loaded. Oh you did. Ah.
Oh I see that we know now you know. Oh no.
Yes. But there is about both of these songs a simple. Formalism in the construction. Which at. A very frontal level for me anyway seems to signify some kind of acceptance on the part of shipwrecked doesn't have. A. Sort of. Emotional thrashing about of Shern Barragan. And this desperate insistence
on leitmotiv with acting interacting fragmenting breaking. Maybe that's the way things are. But Schubert comes to some point where he's able to take it all in his stride and apparently accepted. How did the conversation go and back its endgame. I am supposed to quote don't we laugh. And clover says after reflecting for a minute I don't feel like it and reflecting as it was Nora. Claro Yes. Nature has. Forgotten that there is no more nature or no more nature. You exaggerate in the vicinity but we brave we change. We know it's not our teeth.
Are ideal. And she hasn't forgotten us. But you say there is none. No one that ever lived. Never thought so crooked as we. Do what we can. We shouldn't. And in a worse passage I guess the two of them are still at it. And ham a little. We're really. So. As if I could sleep. I might make love. I'd go into the woods my eyes would see the sky the earth I could run right they wouldn't catch me. And I care. There's something dripping in my head one heart one heart it's in my head. You hear him. Heart in his head. One mustn't laugh at these things. Why must you always lie about them.
Nothing is funnier than unhappiness I grant you that. But yes it's the most comical thing in the world and we laugh we laugh with the will in the beginning but it's always the same thing. Yes it's like the funny story we've heard too often. We still find it funny but we don't laugh anymore. Have you anything else to say to me you know. And for all the bleakness and for all the contrariness and for all of the irony there is in Beckett too as there is and should be a kind of acceptance and then that acceptance. There is a kind of hope. Oh it's a long way from Beethoven and it's a long way from with men. There are there are some among us now I suppose who could take up the Whitman chant. They don't live in the East Village and they're not in the vicinity of W.H. Auden. They're not the people who are young paying about magnifying and
applying how my outbidding at the start of the old cautious hucksters taking myself the exact dimensions of the Jehovah lithograph thing Coronas Zeus is son and Hercules his grandson buying direct. I suppose Cyrus I'll use this bed with Brahma Buddha in my portfolio placing money toe loose on a leaf the crucifix and graved with Odin and the hideous faced MC city of every idol an image taking them all for what they're worth and not a cent more admitting they were alive and did the work of their days excepting the rough deific sketches to fill out better in myself bestowing them freely on each man and woman I see discovering as much or more in the frame or framing a house putting higher claims for him there with his rolled up sleeves driving the mallet and chisel not objecting to special revelations considering the curl of smoke or a hair on the back of my
hand. Just as curious as any revelation though I suppose we're a long way and Schubert and Beckett from and that kind of wonder and that kind of thing. Pretentiousness they would say. And yet although these are extremities they're both worth knowing about and both worth trying to feel and some lies between them. Aligning with the Continuum. ARE YOU WOULD I. SCHIPPERS acceptance takes strange form. It sounds. And sounds desperately happy sometimes almost almost hysterical. We must come back to this again. But what better way I suppose to end rather than gloomily and then to hear the very end of Schubert's last symphony which he said really was his first that he had finally found a way of saying it so that it wasn't so depressing wasn't so bleak wasn't so terrifying but was strangely darkly
exhilarating. Listen to the thing I lay for the phenol I took the thing Ali of Schubert's great C major symphony. I m I am.
I guess I am.
I am I am I am I am I am I am I. Am I Am. I heard.
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Music and other four letter words
Episode Number
Innocence and Experience
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 4930 (University of Maryland)
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Chicago: “Music and other four letter words; 10; Innocence and Experience,” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 29, 2022,
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APA: Music and other four letter words; 10; Innocence and Experience. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from