Sunday, January 20, 2008

MTC Challenge #6 - Where Grumpamoose becomes a Russian

This rounds topic is - What song transports you through space and time, and where do you go?

I was all set to write about "The Dance" by Garth Brooks, and how it reminds me of all the memories that I have of my late grandfather, whom I was privileged to have for 33 years. The tie in to the song is that for what he meant to me, 33 years is far far too short.

But I am not going to write about that song. Which makes me happier because I think I would rather siphon gasoline out of my car and set myself on fire that listen to 99% of what Mr Brooks has recorded.

Rather, since Jester added the addendum to his suggested topic that this song should be one that " provides you with an almost physical reaction when you hear it..." and since I had the most intense manifestation of this particular phenomenon most recently earlier this week, I will write about it instead.

This particular piece of music was written as a celebration of a military victory over Napoleonic France. It captures in the tempo, keys and volume of the notes, what I imagine the witnesses of this event saw, and felt.

From the dread of the ravaging French calvary, that burned villages as it came, and the mismatch faced by the defending army that was forced to retreat in the face of an implacable foe. And seeing the horror of your capital city burning, wondering if there is any victory against the Gallic horde. Feeling the anguish of friends, comrades and loved ones dying and mourning their dead, and the shame of a proud people seemingly unable to repel the invader.

I hear in the distance to the west the crack of musket fire, and the boom of artillery, and see charge and counter charge. And at the end of the day I feel shame and fear, as the French army is still standing with strength enough to seize our capital.

All of these reactions I feel in my gut to varying degrees, so much so that I can feel the shame of defeat after defeat as if I were one of the soldiers. I see the mothers walking across the battlefield crying over their dead sons, and see the tears in the old men as they look over the sooty ruins of Moscow as it is surrendered, and their impotent fists shaking at the blue coated Corsican as he rides by.

I then feel the pride in my country and my Tsar as I stand by thousands of my countrymen as we praise and celebrate a great victory, and know that once again our armies have prevailed, and driven back the foreigners. I sing with gusto, amid the clamor of church bells pealing throughout the land, and cannons booming, but no longer as agents of death. Rather they are instead lending their punctuations to the joy ringing out in the hearts of thousands of my countrymen, as once again Mother Russia is safe.

All this I feel, when I hear the 1812 Overture, by Pyotr Illych Tchaikovsky.

Hear Part 1 -

And Part 2 -


Andy D said...

Good entry. Thanks for not posting on Garth. I feel the same way. I can listen to a few of his songs, but too many of them force me to change the station. Good luck.

Jayne d'Arcy said...

A wonderful piece of music that I never viewed in that way before. Great post!

Princess Jami said...

Okay, I'm reading your blog, see? ;-)
I love this post, just how the feelings, such as anxiety over imminent doom then the joy of unexpected victory, are so vivid. :-)

Biologisvensk said...

Ok, I admit that when I landed on your blog I got a little sidetracked by the song that was playing (Gone-Toby Mac): I haven't heard it in a long time and I was jamming. And I am refreshing the blog to listen to the other songs.

Ooops! I honestly can't help myself.Do they have a support group for music addicts? I think I need one.


1% of what Garth wrote isn't so bad. I've got the 1812 Overture in my music collection as well. There is just something victorious and patriotic about that piece of music. Of course it could be my associating it with my memories of the Boston Pops orchestra playing it on Independence Day.

shadowweaver said...

Wonderful post - and quite right on all counts too.

The best kinds of music (and, along with the Overture, martial music is wonderful for that) invokes the "you're there, you're patriotic" sort of feelings - the bagpipe marching skirls do that for me.

Me, being me, I don't listen to martial music too often - unless I do specific kinds of writing - as my imagination tends to become a little too graphic on me.