Before America was America it was a bunch of English colonies, and there wasn’t anything uniquely American about it to speak of prior to the revolution. Hell, they called the bulk of it New England, which gets points for honesty if not creativity. It had to have been a pretty exciting time for those who were there. 120 years after their first foray into the New World, the British settlers had successfully established a society on land that was definitely never inhabited prior to the Mayflower, I swear (citation needed). These were heady times filled with people working at trades, going to church, banging out children, and definitely doing all of your own manual labor without any outside help from, say, Africa (citation needed).
It was the famous Patriots (a word which has unfortunately lost all meaning today) that we all learned about in school that first began sowing the seeds of American Nationalism in the years leading up to the Declaration of Independence. Ben Franklin, Patrick Henry, John Hancock, and the rest of the gang all deserve their fair share of the credit (and blame) for the burgeoning republic that ultimately became a reality, but as much credit as belongs to the political heroes of the day belongs to the cultural heroes as well. Men like Thomas Paine, John Singleton Copley, and Ben Franklin again (seriously, Ben Franklin is the shit) slowly began establishing the elements of a unique cultural heritage that would come to full flower in the 20th century. Continue reading
Symphony no. 3 ‘Eroica’, mvt. 2 by Ludwig van Beethoven
The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk might have the greatest claim to the double whammy of being ahead of their time and shining a light on a future that in hindsight seemed inevitable. Fast forward 110 years from their famous jaunt through the not-exactly-skies-but certainly-off-the-ground and we now live in a world where passenger planes filled with beds, alcohol, and unceasing danger fly around the world at all times of every day and unmanned aircraft called, with menacing casualness, “drones,” may or may not blow people up on the ground below (spoiler alert:
REDACTED). The notion of giant mechanical beasts roaming the blue yonder probably seemed like a novelty in the 1860′s, pretty far-fetched considering the circumstances at the turn of the century, and the perfect tool for man to rain holy fucking hell on his fellow man by the 1940′s. The Wright Brothers greatest invention was not so much technological as it was ideological. Continue reading
So yeah, writing has been on the back burner for a bit thanks to House of Cards. The miserable cold and snow we’re suffering through afforded me the opportunity to finish that shit, though, so I’m back in the game this week. Stay tuned!
The dramatic conclusion that tens of people are looking forward to is very nearly upon us: this week the greatest symphony movement of all time will be revealed in a fiery blaze of hellbound fury and erotic tension. This has been a fun exercise, and I hope at least one thing was learned by one person somewhere or other. I’ve certainly enjoyed plowing through a bunch of really great music, so I guess I’m the real winner here.
I thought it might be fun to have a little prelude to the grand finale in which you fine folks who have been keeping up with the proceedings throw your two cents into the mix in a couple ways. First, I’m curious to hear what you think the number one choice is going to be. Second, I’d like to know what you think SHOULD reign supreme as the greatest symphony movement ever. To me the choice is incredibly obvious, and I’ve never wavered on it since the beginning of this project (if I can be so silly as to call it a project).
So let’s hear it. Comment here, do that thing where you put the @ sign with my Twitter handle so it gets to me, shout it from the top of a mountain, whatever you want…and then look forward to the epic unveiling of the one movement to rule them all.
Symphony no. 9, mvt. 1 by Anton Bruckner
I probably don’t need to rehash this too much, considering I’ve written at relative length about Bruckner and this symphony a few times, including after my recent trip to Chicago. Suffice it to say, this is about the most earth-shattering music that exists anywhere and there’s no reason we shouldn’t be playing this through headphones on a pregnant woman’s stomach to every unborn child about to enter this world, just to give them something to look forward to…and to spiritually prepare them for the revolt against global capitalism or Satan’s armies, whichever comes first (unless they’re one and the same…OH SHIT!). Continue reading
Symphony no. 7 by Jean Sibelius
So this is definitely cheating, but whatever; the man himself only made it one movement, and that’s good enough for me. There are easily identifiable “movements” in Sibelius 7, but I guess they’re just sections or something so I’m sticking with this come hell or high water. Continue reading