Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Brief Musings

My order of research materials for the Stravinsky project, after a big shipping delay, was suddenly delivered yesterday, so I will be diving back into that project tout de suite!

Musing about music reminds us of how the origin of so many of our ideas, especially about music, come from the ancient Greeks. The word "music" itself comes from the Greek μουσική (mousike; "art of the Muses") and the words "melody," "harmony" and "rhythm" also come from Greek. The nine Muses of the ancient Greeks were the inspirational goddesses of literature, science and the arts. We can muse over that for a while. The 20th century poet Robert Graves described himself as a "muse poet" meaning that he very much believed in the inspirational power of the muses (often transmitted through mythology).

My general policy here is to avoid political discussions and that is following the advice of several commentators. In fact, I was complimented on this after the recent US elections by some commentators who said they were happy that there was at least one site that would not toss in gratuitous political commentary. On the other hand, I notice that when I do put something up with a political aspect to it, like the recent post on Venezuela, it attracts a lot of comments! But let me renew my promise: the Music Salon will not engage in political discussion unless it directly relates to music.

I am sure I have mentioned this before, but I think perhaps my favorite saint is St. Lawrence of Rome, the 3rd century martyr. He is the patron saint of cooks, chefs and comedians. His attribute is the gridiron, which he is often depicted holding:

All this is because of his martyrdom. He so annoyed the Prefect of Rome that he had Lawrence placed on a gridiron or grill over hot coals. According to a very old story coming to us from ancient times, after suffering in great pain the saint cheerfully declared, "I'm well done, turn me over!" The gridiron in question is preserved in a reliquary at the Minor Basilica of St. Lawrence in Lucina (Rome). The church also contains the tomb of the composer Bernardo Pasquini, which gives us our envoi for today. Here are his variations for harpsichord on the ubiquitous Follia:

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