Chapter Twenty-Nine of An Ecstatic Loneliness: The American "Eroica" Symphony
By Michael Moriarty
By Tuesday of this week, March 12, my tribute to Mark Steyn should have appeared in http://newswithviews.com/Moriarty/michaelA.htm. Once there, please scroll down to Part 15. It's worth a peek. Meanwhile my main order of business this week shall begin.
Before I begin my tribute to Aaron Copland, I would like to draw your attention to another, equally gifted and profoundly "International American", Mark Steyn. May God bless him and keep him!
Aaron Copland's Third Symphony, his last in that form, may well have been intended as his "Eroica". Because of my admiration for Copland's distinctive genius and its profound contribution to the American national identity, I hail his great Symphony No. 3 as The American "Eroica".
The Copland 3rd is my favorite achievement in all of America's musical history.
It's profoundly tested, and quintessentially American optimism!
Beethoven's famed Third Symphony, initially dedicated to Napoleon, retained the general description of "Eroica' by Beethoven, after the composer's disillusionment with "The Man Who Would Be Emperor".
The "Symphony", as classical music's most traditional, and by virtue of the concert hall's competitive field, concert music's most competitive form, holds me not only fascinated but increasingly mesmerized. I have begun my own attempts at the symphonic form and have recently resigned myself to naming separate movements as "Portraits". Given the frequency of my "Portraits" and the tradition of music's history as a platform to both praise and criticize world leaders, I pray that my eventual and hopefully future identity as a composer might be described as a symphonic portrait artist.
The brooding and increasingly angry turbulence of Copland's first movement of the Third Symphony leads to an undeniably mournful denouement.
Copland, in the first movement, has stated the problem and revealed the painfully sad consequences of the quintessentially American difficulty.
An almost unbearably agonizing challenge?!
Perhaps it's the Colonial decision to break off from England, the British Empire, and/or any future notions of New World Order imperialism!
Or, to further emphasize this symphony's contemporary relevance, the agony may very well reside in the deplorably increasing ignobility of American leadership?! The first movement's cries for nobility and spiritual strength are piercingly apparent. The frustration within those unanswered prayers leads to the mournful anger that culminates around 7:15 of the Northwestern University Orchestra's exceptionally powerful performance.
We then have a quintessentially Copland portrait of a lost and fearfully desperate America.
We end that first movement as lost children in a symphonic inspiration of deeply despairing premonitions. All of them, to my mind during this first decade of an ominously threatening, third millennium, disturbingly justified!
Though I suspect the first movement evokes a Nazi/Fascist, seemingly indomitable threat of tyranny over the entire human race, I now liken that first movement to a prophetic warning about imperial euphemisms such as a Progressively Marxist/Leninist New World Order.
The second movement is rebirth and youthful exuberance that is so American in its expression that it resounds with an irresistibly unstoppable Truth! Truth about Life's effusive demands and ecstasy-filled destinies!!
It's the chaotic, hustle-bustle of a seemingly possessed and radically experimental nation!
A land divinely obsessed with individual freedom! The price of which is inevitably individual responsibility. Not the Marxist/Leninist prescription for a tyrannically Progressive New World Order!
America was becoming a governing reality unlike any of the monarchical despotisms, benign or otherwise, which Mankind had ever experienced before!!
Grotesque and comic hoots of abandon grow evermore insistent. A march of triumphal certainty brings this second movement to its heroically unapologetic climax.
With such instrumental certainty reaching an unexpectedly serious climax, we then enter a lyrical holiday. With romantic abandon, the orchestra takes a small theme up and down, around the corner and then up and up again into ever stronger and more forceful variations. Until it has reached the renewed certainty over the ecstasies that individual freedom and individual responsibility can bring us to!
The 3rd and 4th movements are actually an uninterrupted Finale.
Somehow, as history has shown, America pulls herself together into a lyrical ideal that can include both the pains of dissonance and the dance rhythms of American bliss.
This 3rd movement prelude to the grand finale prepares us for not only Copland's most popular declaration, Fanfare To The Common Man, but his insistence, and ours, I might add, that America is, indeed, the last and greatest hope of Mankind.
The second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence.
No one knew, knows or understands those words more profoundly nor more accurately than the composer Aaron Copland.
Listen to Copland's portrait of Abraham Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address.
Indeed, Copland's piercing comprehension of America and all of her meanings!
"A new birth of freedom shall not perish from the Earth!"
This time, it is not "Liberty" that needs to become "The Cause", as it had been during the first years of Civil War in America. It is "Life" as the first "unalienable right", contained in that Declaration of Independence! Life itself must ultimately prevail over the misguided and diabolically deluded notions of a Progressively Marxist/Leninist New World Order. This burgeoning monstrosity's commitment to a human race depopulated by abortion?!
They cry: "The human race is NOT sacred!"
"Nothing sacred about it!!!"
As David Attenborough has stated the human race "is a plague on Earth!"
Attenborough's seemingly "informed" cry justifies the Progressive Insanity of Legalized Wholesale Infanticide and Euthanasia?!
A new turn on Hitler's Third Reich.
A depraved version of what is an "unacceptable humanity" which former President Clinton calls a "Third Way" of "Progressive" Protestantism.
As Bill Clinton made clear in his autobiography, he is not just a Baptist!
He is a "Progressive Baptist"!
A Pro-Abortion Baptist!!
Right up David Attenborough's alley!
"Scientifically oriented Christianity!"
"The human race is a plague!"
"There are too many of us!!"
Perhaps even future Americans thought that when they left the crowded cities of Europe for the New World!
Either that or they were fed up with Europe's "Enlightened Despots"!!
Soon… sooner than anyone thinks… Man will know his Destiny as populating the entire Universe!
There aren't and never will be enough human beings to perform that increasingly obvious obligation!
Those words are my estimate of Man's greatest calling, his ultimate vocation.
A Calling that can never… and never will… end!
Up, up we will go… to ever and ever greater heights… with no end to this journey of ours!
No end in sight!
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 email@example.com. He can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/@MGMoriarty.