Sunday, 9 December 2012

"The Love of My Life" by Wong Ming Yang U6B2



Lean back, relax, watch the fluttering curtains and feel the soft caress of the midnight breeze on your cheek, let the mellowness and beauty of the still night envelop you in all its loveliness and majesty…. The symbolic crash of the opening chords, the brilliant rush into the exposition of the symphony, the meticulous articulation of the long, bony fingers of the virtuoso in a rippling concerto cadenza, the intense frown of concentration on the brow of the violin maestro as he surges through a pizzicato passage, the sweet, bird-like trill of the piccolo, the metallic tom-tom of the timpani, the nostalgic faraway call of the French Horn, the delicate chime-like ring of the lament of the trombone, the clicking of the castanets, the firefly darting of the white tip of the conductor's baton, until the very, very last note has died away from a forte-fortissimo to nothingness…. you sit through them all, completely entranced and enmeshed in the vice-like grip of the fierce, compelling, intoxicating and passionate music. You shed a silent tear and whisper grateful, humble thanks to God for such priceless, irreplaceable blessings.

Music is a long-accepted form of entertainment, pleasure and education; music is an expression, a way of living, life itself; music is the food of love; the symbol of our hopes, aspirations, dreams, which may soar as high as the skies or plunge into the abyssmal depths of the seas, the despair, agonies of parting, the sadness and gloom of the dying, and death. What better time is there to speak of music than now, when this world of ours, throbbing with life, sees science, technology and civilisation scaling new peaks and conquering former insurmountables, when Man has begun a take-over of the once inaccessible moon, when babies are born in test-tubes, when computerization threatens to replace man, when extinction of the human race by new gas and chemical warfare is not impossible, when the first strains of sweet melodies have soared in the skies above in the dizzy and rapturous heights reached by the Apollo 11 spacecraft?

Appreciate the values of music. Listen, and allow your emotions free rein and your imagination unlimited scope and discover the hidden depths that music can penetrate. You begin to understand the necessity of aestheticism which provides a release valve from the pent-up feelings of a mad whirlwind, the relentless and disastrous rushing of today's world. You delve into the hearts of composers and musicians long dead and gone. Their memories linger with their immortal melodies still affecting us as much as our ancestors. You strengthen the bonds, ripe with age, between this modern generation and that of our forefathers, you understand what you can do to music and what it can do for you. You realise the parallelism of history, great events and music.

Man and his Music are related closely. "Music is the idealization of the natural language of our emotions." It is more than Nature; it is "Nature's essence." The appeal of music is universal; one's response to it is also universal, and could hardly be more strongly felt. True, music appeals more to some than to others; certain types of music arouse more feelings, than others, but the 'right' music and the appropriate time have the desired effect. It has the power to stir human and animal feelings, to calm and comfort, to excite and exhilarate, to crush and drown.

Then compare the music of Bach, Handel and Scailatti to that of Beethoven, Schubert, Weber, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Bartok, Debussy, Ravel, Britten, Kabalevsky, and so on. The colourful, ornamental, theatrical, polyphonic Baroque period of Bach and his contemporaries seeks to arouse musical feelings by its fineness in artistry and delicacy. Beethoven finds it difficult to control his intensity of feelings in his compositions and his tremendous bravura passages with interspersed pianissimo effects provide a convenient insight into his fiery and unpredictable character. This musical genius was the creator of masterpieces which are today still considered as among the finest of all ages. The Romantic composers also sought to express their feelings in music - Schumann composed such pieces as Soaring and Whims, which reflected the depth of his love and the height of his Passion for Clara Wieck, and his music is full of jumps and leaps and bounds. Ravel and Debussy, with their maxim - "to name an object is to sacrifice three-quarters of that enjoyment which comes from guessing bit by bit", established the school of Impressionism, where allusive vagueness and atmospheric sensations were used to create musical interest. Chopin, in his fierce nationalistic pride, composed Polonaises and Mazurkas in honour of his native land and so did Bela Bartok, the Hungarian composer whose music has a definite folk song lilt. But, unlike the harmonious blendings so skillfully contrived by these classical composers, contemporary writers have only succeeded in creating discordant harmonies and melodies, which do not merge or enrich each other, but collide, rebound and clamour for recognition.

This is a trip into the fairyland of music, where a myriad of songs, operas, symphonies, concertos, overtures, sonatas, waltzes, suites, string quartets, oratorios, cantatas, nocturnes, ├ętudes, preludes and others await you. "Let no such man be trusted" was said of the man who has no music in his ears. Are you so deaf that you cannot hear, so blind, oh so very blind that you cannot see? So very cold that you cannot, absolutely cannot feel?

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