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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 Batum. The sea the sea. Take this sea whose diet paisa Nels on scrolls of silver snowy sentences the scepter terror of whose sessions Rennes as her demeanors motion well a little ordeal all but the pieties of the lover's hand. And onward as bells off Suns Salado a salute to the Crocus Luster's of the stars in these poinsettia meadows of her tie AIDS adagio was the island's my prodigal complete the dark confessions her vain spell so writes Hard to Crane who finally yielded himself up in fact. To the sea. Symbolically who knows.
Take this sea and that seems to be. The Great. Yan the great symbol for many persons in the last part of the last century and indeed in this one we have followed PLO now as a matter of fact as he sets out upon his nocturnal voyage into what seems to be the dark sea of his soul his mind and that great unconscious area for which sums like hydrous nowadays even think the sea seems to be sufficient symbol. As though somehow being absorbed in such a place is to be used to be purged of many things. The time sense of course. Of space. Of relationship. That somehow we pass through the relative into something like. The absolute. And in that sacred place where there is no desire there is also no memory. And as we know the last time probably to
know humor. And the music of Claude to Debussy went the whole gamut I suppose from the merely sensuous at the outset. To a sense as a as a type of allusion to symbol. With more or less conviction about the symbols. One whole decade of work on pending House and many zoned over Debussy is content to. Let everything sort of rest equally with everything else not to draw distinctions but somehow to saturate us as Metrolinx splay does with. The full weight of the imagery and symbol and to see how clearly we can feel it. And finally as his own life progresses into areas of. Personal physical suffering. And this coincides with the great world of unrest of the beginning of the 20th century the outbreak of the Great War and finally Debussy's demise from cancer. It is clear that something happens
and you know the method of approach to sound which this composer uses. So the last etudes for piano in the last. Projected so nachos for various small ensembles seemed to be a Debussy not known to us quite before. Not quite before but in some instances before. Lonmin which is an earlier piece must see it as a piece worth taking. If the B C had written it in his last year I suppose it would be purged off more of the nostalgia. That. Sometimes pops up in the course of its pages. And then has been left in the score now. There are times when. One feels something like Yeah and something like desire or something like yearning. In the music. To me it seems more like the memory. Of a memory vision in a vision the dream in a dream in a dream.
Bisi was clear about the llama. This is no see he said that you would visit you know see that you could splash and vacation place calendar picture. No see that you have ever seen or that anyone has ever seen. It is. Whatever it can be. The final the absolute the ultimate symbol of whatever it is. He accompanied to the printed score of llama. With a. Cloak Qusai. Painting of the sea a drawing of the sea. And reflective again of Debussy's interest over some years. And all of the implications of not only Oriental artistic thought but metaphysics. What is the CIA. I'm not prepared to say except that the U.S. writing once about his experience
with. An aria of Rameau you will remember said. Does it not strike you as a great. Unit of all time and space. Disappear. So persons standing naively before the giant image if you will or symbol of the sea. May have something of that feeling of Debussy's standing before the epic piece of a homily. To be purged of time and space is to be. Lost indeed. And when they go everything connected with them goes. And all that is left for the musician. All that is left for the human being is somehow the quintessence of that moment. Whatever it is. But that moment must be its very own. And it must somehow be distilled beyond the senses and
therefore the music must somehow be robbed. Of Desire. And come close to what Stravinsky says may be the final ideal of music. That is to rob it of any of those things which contribute towards what composers ordinarily would call. Expression. Or emotion. The so that finally what is left to us is the orderly moment of. Claude Debussy. When played by some people. And atmospheric near ecstatic experience when played by others lost to your exploration into strange levels of metaphysics. However that may be I suppose one needn't opt for one or the other. You know in a way it must be both. Afford to be seen to write it he had to write it out of his human experience. Some of that is left to our ears.
So much the better for some of us. Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh. It has. A.
Ah and. Thanks.
If you can run now and listen someplace to the music videos that may strike you in the quick
juxtaposition that the nostalgia level of that composer's music is much higher. Than Debussy at this point and particularly later on in his composition. That although the two composers studious and U.S. seem to be working generally in some kinds of sound preference the Debussy is after something which dubious cannot finally achieve. You cannot face it steadily. Eliot said. But this thing is sure that time is no healer of time. The great enemy of the patient is no longer here. When the train starts and the passengers are settled to fruit periodicals and business letters and those who saw the mouth of left the platform their faces relax from grief into relief. To the sleepy rhythm of 100 hours fare forward travellers not escaping from the past into different lives or into any future you are not the same people who left that station or who will arrive at any Terminus
while the narrowing rails slide together behind you. And on the back of the drumming liner watched the furrow that widens behind you. You shall not think the past is finished. Or. The future is before us at nightfall in the rigging and the aerial. Is the voice discounting though not to the ear the murmuring shell of the time. And not in any language fair forward. You who think that you are voyaging you are not those who saw the harbor receding or those who will disembark. Here between the hither on the farther shore while time is withdrawn. Consider the future in the past with an equal mind. I think those lines you will remember. From an earlier program but now they seem to have special import in the music to see. Particularly the music of. La mia and particularly in connection with his preoccupation with Oriental thought and first part of the century.
I for example and the kind of Munna stick thought. And that characterizes much of the East. The individual personality is said to have no lasting reality. It is like many things in nature a sort of passing phenomenon. It is illusory in the end. The idea seems to be that most of the individual selves which we pride to so much in the West will be swallowed up and absorbed again into the Godhead into the one into the whole into the all into the absolute like drops of water and the terminus sea. The Godhead. To quote one sort of modern. Discounter on this theme perhaps has temporarily divided itself. In this world where we have our daily experiences for some practical purposes the hand is
divided into five fingers or more likely the Godhead is simply amusing itself making all the world a stage on which it acts out the various roles the method of killing eternity as it were. In Hinduism this my Mystic absolute is known variously as mine or better Ramadan and all individual selves are just aspects of one supreme self a Hindu holy man contemplates the sacred syllable Oh well. Which is emblematic of what's mine the great Supreme Godhead. And he asks What is that. He has told about all art that. Saw the lives Hindu is never jealous because of whom should he be jealous. He sees no other hears no other knows no other for what other is there to see or to hear or to know. He hates no living creature not even the tiger for he knows that all
creatures are simply food are born from food live upon food and then become food. It may be that to eat and to be eaten or the same thing in the end. We are all one so as cream and butter. Salt in the sea. Man. Is in everything. And is everything. It is like a flame which assumes the shape of each object to consume us. Some people call it the void. But it is not a void in our sense of that word at all. That's so difficult to know whether the sea is. A full sea or whether it is an empty sea. It's difficult to know looking at the room which has only air in it with the areas emptied. Or. Filled. And it seems to call for some other mode of seeing some other mode of apprehension. Some other way. Coming to the truth. You
see finally let music be that direct statement and we understand and appreciate brother King they want his initials sort of enthusiasm for Wagner may have consisted then. I he finally gave up. Some of the Wagnerian themes some of the great Wagnerian mythic references and certainly a lot of the buggers supercharged to sound. But the basic intuition the basic quest seems to have been the same. And I suppose if the Debussy had come to act three of Tristan. Late in his life and I do not know whether he did he would have been home. He would have recognised that that was where he probably had always been tending. And that was what his own life was about. And that in the end was what was symptomatic of most of the work of his life. Well here is a piece by John nobody Oh and someone a few years ago.
Wondered if ya know what ever do anything again after his marvelous peace circles. Maybe he didn't have anyplace to go. It's a sort of last year's piece. It's modern. I guess you would say it is music up here and no it is the first movement of his Sinfonia. It begins with allusions to the sea. With playing a round of words from. Allusions to. Brazilian myth and legend it begins somehow not facetiously at all but mysteriously. And some would feel rightly and maybe even metaphysically back where we have always been in that world of reference and cross reference to timeless symbols. Myth legend. And the story which is after all they say the story of us all. Day.
This has been music and other four letter words featuring
Paul Bennett associate professor of music at the University of Utah. Music another four letter word is a production of University of Utah radio executive director Rex Cambo. Series director Gene PAC. This series is made possible by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
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Music and other four letter words
Episode Number
The Empty Sea
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Identifier: 4936 (University of Maryland)
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Chicago: “Music and other four letter words; 17; The Empty Sea,” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 13, 2024,
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APA: Music and other four letter words; 17; The Empty Sea. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from