Monday, December 17, 2012


First movement of the Passion Symphony

by Marcel Dupre

This hard-driving, dissonant, turbulent, darkly brilliant composition is a musical evocation of the anxiety, desperation and impulse towards violence that dominates earthly society devoid of love, trust, faith in virtue, and enlightened thinking –– music that graphically expresses a crying need for God's help –– music perfect for the times in which we live.

~ FreeThinke


  1. I love organ music!

    "Those who have walked in darkness have seen a great Light."

  2. Are you sure you don't like Death Metal? ;)


  3. No, Finn, I really don't. ;-)

    What we have here is a magnificent example of "Controlled Chaos." Yup a living example of an oxymoron.

    We as listeners are able to experience the negatives and understand the threat and the potential harm vicariously -- if we have ears to hear it. Not everyone does, of course.

    Art of this sort is meant to evoke appropriate feelings of panic, terror, confusion, revulsion, desperation, etc. without having to "act out" these violent scenarios for oneself.

    Marcel Dupré and Diane Bish have done all that for us. The level of talent, skill and dedication it takes to perform music of this caliber with complete authority is mind boggling. To conceive something like this in one's imagination and get it all down in legible for for others to share is a far more stupendous achievement.

    ~ FT

  4. This is more ducky's music... atonal blech... sorry.

  5. I'm sorry too, Joe, but please don't confuse an inability to relate to something of this nature with having superior taste or knowledge.

    There are many brilliant and wonderful things I don't relate to very well either -- like quantum physics, aero-dynamics, organic chemistry, trigonometry, military field strategy, and the inner workings of the Hubble telescope, but I don't dismiss those things as unworthy just because I may not have the capacity to understand them.

    It's that Madeleine v. Judy thing again. ;-) It comes in many guises, and all of us unwittingly play the part of Judy at one time or another.

    The trick is to learn to forgive one another for not always being Madeleine.


  6. Joe,
    I'm not fond of atonal music either as a regular diet. But from time time it does add balance. It seems to me that we are living in "atonal times."

    Maybe I should say that we are living in cacophonous times.

    We are in desperate need of soothing melody and euphonious harmonies.

  7. The World Awaiting the Savior is not "atonal" at all -- far from it. It is extremely DISSONANT, but all the dissonant sounds are very skillfully wedded to a perfectly tonal "skeleton" that holds it all together.

    And don't forget the serene middle section where the tune Veni Redemptor predominates as a sort of "Preview of the Coming Attraction" -- the Nativity.

    This piece is a lot like my poem Questions in that it sharply reminds us how stressful and frightening things can be without the hope of Salvation.

    ~ FT

  8. We should remember too that consonance unrelieved by dissonance is static. It soon becomes tedious. In its own way ennui can be every bit as dangerous as violent passion.

    As you wisely said, AOW, we must have balance.

    Too much of a good thing can be as bad as its direct opposite.

  9. Did you know this woman is said to be a lesbian? Does that make you feel any different about her playing?

    ------------> Katharine Heartburn

  10. Katharine,
    Well, she does dress a bit like Liberace.

    I pay no attention to the sexual orientation of the artist or the performer. Rather, I judge the work's composition or the performance on the basis of the criteria that I have for excellence.

  11. You gave the answer I was hoping someone would give to Katharine's question, AOW. Thank you.

    I am a great admirer of Diane Bish. Her command of the instrument is second to none, and she's done a marvelous job in bringing awareness of advanced organ literature to a public that might never have gained access otherwise.

    Did you know she has made over FIVE-HUNDRED video-taped performances for public broadcast on various organs all over the world?

    She and I were born the same year, and what she has accomplished in the same block of time makes me look like a piker.

    But yes, I have always felt her taste in concert attire is questionable. My opinion is that she's a superb player with no fashion sense whatsoever.

    I have always felt it would be best for organists, unlike children, to be HEARD but not SEEN.

    Music is after all primarily an AURAL phenomenon, and should be appreciated as such.

    I have to say too -- even though I regard it as insignificant -- that if she were a lesbian, she'd be less apt to dress like Liberace [very funny, BTW, I wish I'd thought of it first!], and more apt to wear some version of white tie and tails cut to fit her slender female form -- or don't you agree?

    As far as I'm concerned, she could perform barefoot in panties and bra, a leopard skin bikini, -- or buck naked -- as long as she played with such musical integrity and absolute command of the instrument.

    The public's obsession with other peoples' sex lives is morbid and unwholesome.

    ~ FT

  12. Does anyone remember Virgil Fox? He too was a great "showman" -- much more so than Diane Bishm frankly -- and was roundly criticized by his more sedate colleagues for being an outrageous exhibitionist.

    It was all sour grapes. He was a great virtuoso and id more to capture the public's imagination -- and to attract favorable attention to the great organ works of J.S. Bach -- than all his more sedate colleagues put together -- at least in these United States. Europe had her own heroes in the genre -- one of the greatest of whom was Marcel Dupré, who along with Olivier Messiaen was probably the greatest composer for the instrument since J.S. Bach.

    At any rate, Fox was as gay as ten red hats and made no bones about it at a time when that just wasn't done. No matter. His talent and ability to demonstrate grace under pressure time and time again overrode all the petty nonsense, so he enjoyed a triumphant career given to very few.

    I sort of wish Katharine hadn't brought this up, because it always produces a "sideshow" that gives the "Mrs. Grundys" among us another chance to parade their ignorance and stupidity.

    I hate it, because it detracts from the MUSIC, which is ALL that matters.

    ~ FT

  13. FT,
    Virgil Fox? Yes, I do remember him.

    His significant other's name was Dick Wiggly. No, I'm not kidding.

  14. FT,
    I never say Virgil Fox perform, but I do have some Christmas lp's that include some of his playing.

  15. Christ! forget all the fancy talk. That's just fuckin' awesome.

    Dick Wilde



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