Musical Moment #1: “Great and Noble”

Every now and then a fb friend does one of those ten-post challenges. Songs, albums, life events in one picture, given with no words. Or minimal commentary.

As I think back to musical moments in my life, I’ve pondered less the songs and more the big piece as a whole. Classical pieces. Musicals. Even in rock music, I was drawn toward whole albums, not single songs.

I think I can come up with ten–at least ten–musical events that were significant in some way. I can’t avoid commentary, really. On fb, I’ll put the link to here.

The first I remember of today’s piece was my younger sister or brother alerting me to a Sesame Street sequence. The largo movement from Dvořák’s ninth symphony played. The visual looked like an orange planet, a ship’s view along a terminator–the band between day and night.

I loved the music too, and as the piece continued, the camera at last pulled away and I found myself looking at an orange. Disappointed: I was hoping for a planet. A “new world,” as it were.

I was less disappointed to find the piece in my dad’s record collection, in this series of classical recordings. (Which you can find on eBay from various sellers, like on the right.)

I’ve had my own cd now of the piece for years. I’ve never experienced it live. Yet. I think I played the vinyl during my youth years more than I’ve listened to the disk. It certainly was the most scratched-up of all the records in that set.

I still associate the music with a new world in the sense of a new planet. Here is the aforementioned second movement of symphony by the NY Phil. I know some European orchestras have more acclaimed recordings, but my personal bias is American music by American musicians, though written by a Czech.

The symphony was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, and was a success from the premiere. Today’s white nationalists would disapprove, but the composer wrote that American composers should look to the melodies of black spirituals. There, “I discover all that is needed for a great and noble school of music.”

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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