Saturday, May 21, 2016

So addicted to this symphony

Try to remember the Four Last Things: death, judgement, heaven and hell. They are absolutely certain realities. No one is ever going to hear from God, "You know, you thought too much about the Four Last Things. You should have spent more time being concerned about money, success, comfort and sex. Also, I would have preferred if you had spent more time criticizing Pope Francis and being ostentatiously preoccupied with liturgy, doctrine and the Church's prestige." Yeah, you're not going to hear that.

Anyways, I don't know of any other music than Gorecki's that is so direct. When I listen to his third symphony, for instance, I more often than not break into a heavy sweat. There is in the emotional power an almost savage purgative that has little to do with mere emotion. I get something quite similar in his fourth symphony (the one posted above), but more purgative and less emotion. There's also an interesting coolness - the perfect artistic tone when expressing something like the Four Last Things. I can't think of another word for "savage", which is really an insufficient descriptor, and also quite inaccurate. But perhaps one will know what I mean. It's the directness.

I understand the unity in this fourth symphony, The Tansman Episodes. I dig the pillared ranking of the units of music, which is a form of generosity. A superficial listening only hears disparate unconnected pieces of music. There is a oneness of overall construction. It is cohesive and intelligent, thematically and sonically.

Sometimes the Sorrowful Songs (the third symphony) can seem mawkish - in one's lesser moments of either inattentiveness, boredom, or sensory surfeit. Listen to the fourth symphony. It's fantastic.

This version is better:

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