The Haunted Heaven: Chapter Twenty-Nine: The Devil and Karl Marx
By Michael Moriarty
"Eternal return" is both a metaphysical and primordial concept involving the cycles of not only one's body but one's soul as well. This happens to me every time I hear Rachmaninoff's Second Symphony.
Hearing it now conducted by the great Russian maestro, Evgeny Svetlanov? Having first heard this music 70 years ago, I marvel that it had already been roughly 34 years old in 1941. The music was created in 1906-7. Bump that timeline up in the computer and we have the first act of the Russian Revolution.
Svetlanov knows that Revolution almost first hand. Though born twenty-two years after the Revolution started, he had been "controlled" and then "fired" or is it "chastened" by the Soviet Union and its state controlled symphonies because of his foreign contracts in London and Sweden.
Svetlanov's interpretation makes me weep copiously.
Every note within Rachmaninoff's brooding lyricism is cut by Svetlanov's musicians into my soul.
Somehow Svetlanov communicates to his orchestra the profoundest story that Rachmaninoff is attempting to tell. Rachmaninoff's own version of his own symphony carries none of the weight found in Svetlanov's baton.
"Weight" is the only word that immediately comes to mind. That and "density" of feeling. The low strings that set the mark for Svetlanov's interpretation of this first movement somehow inspire the entire orchestra to understanding the spiritual weight and density that rests heavily within every Russian soul.
Somehow, yet for increasingly obvious reasons, I fear America is almost begging to be taught the same horrendous lessons of tyranny that were brought to Russia by both its Royal Family and the infinitely disastrous nightmare of Vladimir Lenin. The injection of Marxist poison into the human soul is exploding exponentially now and has virtually infected the United States directly through her White House and her members of Congress. The Obama Nation, should it succeed in lying and manipulating its way into a second term, will finish the vaunted "fundamental transformation" and leave America the very abomination Marx and Engels had always intended her to be.
Svetlanov's second movement of Rachmaninoff's Second Symphony erupts from another planet entirely. Until, of course, the second theme arrives with its reminder of Svetlanov's "weight and density". Then, however, it is back to the energy and urgency of another, much younger and wildly vibrant era.
Senza vibrato, it's loneliness within the orchestral surroundings?
The two separate sources of music?
They are so separate from one another, it is heartbreaking, despite the fact that harmonically they would seem made for each other.
Rachmaninoff's genius and his isolation as a Russian exile? He, like many another Russian great, is that profoundly lonely clarinet, out of step and seemingly out of time with the entire Soviet idea. You can sense the solo clarinet's tone was almost imperceptibly twisted, sharpened almost out of tune with the orchestra, a 20th of a tone. As the melody in the clarinet rises it seems increasingly out of tune and out of step with the orchestra. And the flat, vibrato-less execution? Apart from everything else, rather like a distant, foreign planet. Meanwhile Svetlanov's rich strings and horns eventually drown the clarinet with Rachmaninoff's now legendary, oceanic waves of sound.
The death of the individual for no other reason than that he doesn't seem to "fit"!
A lovelier Clarinet solo in this third movement can be found here with Tadaaki Otaka and the BBC symphony orchestra of Wales.
Both solos, however, are without vibrato. That does not mean without feeling. Both project a dry and, I would say, rather frightened loneliness.
The premature ecstasies of the Communist Revolution are, without the composer really knowing it, all over this symphony's architecture. On the other hand, all the frightful premonitions of Communist death and violence are in this 1906-7 work of Rachmaninoff as well. It is one that followed three years of the composer's silence because of the horrifying, critical reception of his First Symphony.
Rachmaninoff finally conducted the Second Symphony in 1908 to great critical acclaim. The unashamed joy and exhilaration in the composer's final movement clearly anticipated his own, well-earned success.
The most triumphant fact of this creation is the oceanic size of Rachmaninoff's musical vision! It drowns even the idea of politics! Once the waves of his Second Symphony begin to roll into our souls, whole world wars begin to drown within it.
When it subsides?
We're never quite the same after hearing it.
We've been reminded of the "measure of things"!
Not only of just how small and insignificant we are in relation to God's entire creation of the Universe but of how sacred we must be in God's eyes for him to inspire such a vision within Sergei Rachmaninoff.
A divine symphony!
The Russian Revolution eventually made it impossible for Rachmaninoff to remain in Russia. He and his wife left in December of 1917 with few belongings. Imagine how the soul of this purely Russian artist must have felt when he knew with certainty how doomed his homeland had become, so trapped in the bloody fists of Vladimir Lenin and his savage successor, Joseph Stalin.
Here is Svetlanov and the final movement. A joyous sense of salvation for 1907 Russia?
Within a decade Rachmaninoff knew there was no hope within Leninist Russia for anything but tyranny and death.
Then let us see the entire work in light of the composer's indisputable joie de vivre!
Oh, I know his music's brooding depths might convince you otherwise, but, my God, how can the ecstasies within the Second Symphony's last movement convey anything but bliss?!
Perhaps I knew, as Rachmaninoff possibly knew intuitively from his birth, and in the most prophetic sense, that we would have to flee our homelands. I was prepared, however, by his sublimely yearning music, to know what beauty there could be in the pain of having no alternative but to leave home forever. It demanded a bit of drunken courage, I admit. However, it was done! Neither I nor Rachmaninoff could look back at our homelands with any emotion but increasing anger and resignation.
In my increasingly, small "c", catholic liberation I am certain God has laid all of our destinies out before we live them. Second by second details of our lives, however, are almost as surprising to Him as they are to us, but the decisions of our Destiny come from a space only He knows about.
God as our only, eternally meaningful Destiny.
If not, then He weeps at the prospect and now the benighted reality of America's "fundamental transformation".
The Communist Revolution and its atheism was that most all-encompassing of revolts. Rachmaninoff's Second Symphony does not know that. All it knows in its final movement is the ecstasy of a composer's rebirth. A creative explosion that followed years of depression. A silence provoked by the disastrous critical reception to his First Symphony. At the time of its composition, Rachmaninoff had this to say:
"[I was] so engrossed with my work that I did not notice what went on around me. Consequently, life during the anarchistic upheaval, which turned the existence of a non-proletarian into hell on earth, was comparatively easy for me. I sat at a writing table or the piano all day without troubling about the rattle of machine guns and rifle shots."
As the Twentieth Century's grandest delusion and deadliest guest on earth, destroying, in both Russia and China combined, over one hundred million people, Karl Marx's Communism now owns and runs the most controlling capitals of the earth: Beijing, Moscow and the White House of Washington, D.C. It wasn't until the ultimate takeover of Russia by Lenin and his Revolutionaries in 1917 that Rachmaninoff saw the writing on the wall, the arrows pointing to these ongoing Russian and Arab Springs and Occupying Wall Street "protests." These certain preludes, like the Russian decade of 1907-1917, to tyranny.
The Almighty would help us if we didn't deserve everything that the Devil and Karl Marx have been serving up to us for just over a century. America, as Lincoln predicted, could only die like this by suicide. The Roe v Wade Decision's legalization of murder and infanticide was the cyanide pill that America has swallowed with a benighted sigh of relief. Americans still sit in utter ignorance of this Progressive panacea's homicidal intent.
The Catholic Church, if She continues to honor the Sacredness of Human Life, plus America's Tea Party Movement, appear to be our only holds on the irreplaceable principles that have kept America both human and individually free.
The present and resolutely pro-life Pope, Benedict XVI, is now being watched obsessively by the world. The Progressives, of course, hope that he passes away and is replaced by a "pro-choice" Papal authority. They have been as disinterested in the dehumanization of America as Rachmaninoff initially was in the early protests of the Russian Revolution.
Now listen to Svetlanov's version of Rachmaninoff's Isle of The Dead!
This was also composed in the early years of the Russian experiment with Marx, Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin. It captures what ultimately became Russia's own isle of the dead: Stalin's Soviet Union.
All great artists, and Sergei Rachmaninoff was a profoundly great Russian giant, are prophets. No, I don't think he knew consciously how disastrously wedded to Death the Soviet Union of Joseph Stalin would become. However, the Soviet Union, following Stalin's Purges, became a Continent of The Dead. Under Vladimir Putin, it now remains an ever-incipient hell, with ghosts of Lenin, Stalin and Mao singing like Lucifer's Angels in back-up support to Vladimir Putin's expected re-ascendance to the throne of Russia.
Protests in Russia against Putin will prove to be no more effective than protests in Iran. Only "Occupying Movements" with Communist support have the staying power to succeed in protest. With Putin and Obama simultaneously re-installed for more terms in power?
Thank God that I, like Rachmaninoff, became an exile.
Will The Progressive, Worldwide Enemy of Individual Freedom, the increasingly Marxist New World Order, occupy Canada?
No doubt it will try!
If the New World Order oligarchy succeeds, the only sanctuary left might be the Catholic Church. Will such a band of "enlightened despots" honor Catholic sovereignty? With the Catholic likes of Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi in the lead, what do you think?!
Meanwhile, The Isle of the Dead rolls through my earphones with its insistent 5/8 threnody!
Only a pro-life faith in resurrection offers any hope. Must America die, suffer in hell before she can resurrect?
The neo-Soviet resurrection in Russia under Putin is no sign of hope.
The possibility of an America increasingly owned by the Obama Nation is so utterly horrifying that my decision fifteen years ago to live in Canada carries some kind of prophetic grace within it. It certainly coincides with Abraham Lincoln's prediction of America's possible demise. If America is destroyed, he prophesied, it will not be by a foreign power. If she dies, it will be by suicide.
Now, with the indispensible help of Karl Marx and his unrelenting entourage, the last stage of that suicide is revealing its increasingly ugly and venomous head.
Michael Moriarty is a Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actor who starred in the landmark television series Law and Order from 1990 to 1994. His recent film and TV credits include The Yellow Wallpaper, 12 Hours to Live, Santa Baby and Deadly Skies. Contact Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org.