Monday, April 1, 2013

A Friend of Mine: Beyond Polyphony

As any APLV readers know, the classical music greats feature prominently on the blog. Please don't think, though, that we neglect that modern music which speaks straight to the heart. Right here we have a great 20th century hit which cuts past those nasty fugal complexities behind us for some toe-tapping elation. In a way this is purer song, finer expression through its liberation from complex harmonies and expressive means. Listen.

First, hear how the symmetry of those opening notes, three pairs of two, is broken by the seventh, lone note. One does not simply write such a groovy theme. One is inspired. Likewise, notice the triplet figure in the bass rolling on and on, as if eternally, reminiscent of a great passacaglia from Bach, Purcell, or Buxtehude. See lastly how yet another figure theme lays atop the bass, there.

Naturally we cannot ignore the text, which is deliberately emphasized by the lack of musical development. The text features rhyming couplets, emphasizing contrasting pairs such as different and same by their end-stopped placement and important concepts such as name, and same by the end-rhyme. Lastly, the imagery references everything from the ancient myth of Actaeon. "Once I tried to run," to the modern morality tales of Dudley-Do-Right, "He is like a Mountie, he always gets his man."

Complemented by the timeless look of leather vests and pelvic swaying, this video is simply electrifying. Zap!

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