Monday, December 3, 2012

Everybody cut...

Puritanism, as H.L. Mencken put it, is "the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy", and they appear to be out in force in Mali, according to the Washington Post. Frowning upon music has long been a favourite pastime of our moral superiors but this usually extends only as far as particular genres. It takes a truly dedicated fundamentalist to go the whole way and try to eliminate all music. But I suppose it does make sense: if you just ban opera, then sneaky composers are going to produce works that sound exactly like operas but are technically sacred oratorios. So you can't trust musicians, and it's best to ban everything, with no exceptions, even the life of the mother. (Oops! wrong debate!) Because - well, as Schubert's friend Franz von Schober put it in An die Musik:
Oft hat ein Seufzer, deiner Harf' entflossen,
Ein süßer, heiliger Akkord von dir

Den Himmel beßrer Zeiten mir erschlossen
which Wikipedia translates as
How often has a sigh escaping from your harp,
A sweet, sacred chord of yours
Opened up for me the heaven of better times
And we can't have musicians opening up heaven, can we?

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