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Now, before this is taken as a negative criticism, I point out that a great deal of modern music can cause just these same questions being asked. The Symphony of Sorrowful Songs by Gorecki is a case in point. Part of the reason for its lack of recognition until the ravers picked it up and turned it into a million seller, was that it clearly didn't fulfill any of the expectations of the symphony mold. I expect some critic said 'It's not a symphony!' The repetition of the same chord (as appears in the last movement) must have struck the critics as absolute nonsense when one knows that the symphony is a structure of process and development. I'm sure someone asked 'Where's the music?' because there were so few different pitches, so few different rhythms, so few different musical ideas.

But the vagueness of the Gorecki work, its simplistic construction, its simple compositional elements and its derivation from chant, all cause it to go beyond time and force all of those questions, questions which every sonata, symphony or piece in the Classical Western style poses and answers, the Gorecki work simply forces all of those questions off the stage and
Time, that most effective chimera, ceases to exist.

Hugh Flynn's symphony, albeit a programmatic work, conceived in a style he refers to as World Orchestral Music, is a giant canvas that comes from nowhere, is nowhere and goes nowhere. For example, 'The opening movement is an account of the tension and bating of the Irish people by the English leading up to the incident at the Harrow.' [listen -- track 1, 0:00-0:54]

The music is technological, with the pounding of machinery omnipresent, the gestures are vague, indistinct, seemingly unrelated, rarely differentiated by contrast but which seem forced onward by the machinery with no respite, no relief and no end [listen -- track 2, 1:00-2:00].

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Copyright © 20 October 2001 Gordon Rumson, Calgary, Alberta, Canada






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