Music: January 2003 Archives
Maybe I ended that last post about The Blue Flower on more of a down note than I intended. I was tired, it was late, etc.
Also, the period beginning with pre-WW I Europe and ending with the collapse of the Weimar Republic is one of the most depressing episodes in Western civilization. Many artists, politicians, and thinkers believed that war would sweep away the ossified establishment, and a beautiful new order would be founded on the slate wiped clean by the chaos. People believed that the war would be over in a matter of weeks. It lasted four years and 10 million people died.
As we waited in line to go into the theatre last night, someone gave every person a small artificial blue flower, a bit like the red poppies that veterans sell or give away on Veterans' Day -- the anniversary of the armistice. Attached was a piece of paper with these words: Pro Patria Mori.
It's sobering to live in a time where the people in charge of this country think war will make us safer. The European elite in 1914 was much more educated and cultured than our leaders, knew their history better, and yet made a horrible mistake when they thought the same thing.
I was reading the program this morning to learn more about the artists involved, and one of the things that struck me was that most of the people came from places like the plains of Texas, or Memphis, or western Pennsylvania. Maybe there is hope for art in America, as long as people can make it to NYC, and can find a way to afford to be here plus the audience they deserve. I also have to say I am extremely impressed by artists that choose to work with subjects like these, which have great resonance for our time but are not obvious "crowd pleasers." Spend some time on the Weimarband web site. The amount of detail is a bit obsessive -- the kind of site I would build if I were part of it.
I was just browing the web site of one of the performers who made me use the word "charismatic" in my earlier post, Jen Chapin. She is a musician and social activist. Check it out.
The Weimarband will be apppearing at Joe's Pub on February 4 at 7pm, and the tickets are only $12.
... in a river every moment passing new ... I climbed the Eiffel Tower, and saw the rooftops from the angels' view. Now things will never, will never be the same. They will never, will never be the same.
I saw Blue Flower by the Weimarband at HERE tonight. It's still a work in progress, but musically it's very good -- they describe themselves as Sturm n' Twang, or Kurt Weill meets Hank Williams -- with strong musicians and talented, charismatic singers. There are samples on the Weimbarband web site.
The historical context and references range from the events leading to WW I, the Weimar Republic, a fictionalized menage of Franz Marc, Max Beckmann, Hannah Höch, and Marie Curie, plus Dada. Part of it takes place at the Cabaret Voltaire -- the last time Zurich was really interesting.
While watching the performance tonight, I was reminded of the quote I posted earlier. I worry about the ability of artists to create works with historical resonance, or references, given the dumbing down of our culture and the nearly complete lack of historical or cultural knowledge. No wonder people think movies are the highest art form now. Most of them are easy on the eyes, don't make you think too much, ignore history, and give you musical cues about how you're supposed to be reacting. I wonder if I'll have to rely on European culture to keep such ideas alive for a bit longer, at least as long as I live. That's one more reason to work on my languages.