Towards Better Democracy

Good words, well written, better the world. Good literature betters the world immeasurably.

Music from the Heart of Space


Music from the Heart of Space

Malcolm D B Munro
Friday 12 May, 2017

Filed under: Arts, Current Events, history, Media, Memoir, poetry, songs, stories

Works for Imaginary Book Covers, number 7


Letters from My Son in Exile

Available at Saatchi Art

The point of political art is to draw attention to injustices and intolerable situations. A call for attention, action.

This work does not do that. Here the call is to draw awareness to the human dimension. Here the work asks you to put yourself in the position where you feel for this mother’s plight, all mothers who have sons and daughters incarcerated by those who pursue the cause of serious harm and death of those whom they feel are a threat.

The suggestion is that these letters may not have come from the woman’s son; even the name is redacted.

The suggestion too is that she is fearful of using her real name in publishing these letters.

The mother lives in hope of being united with her son, of seeing him again. But that hope may never be fulfilled.

He may be dead and she may never learn of his death.

Malcolm D B Munro
Tuesday 2 May, 2017

Filed under: Arts, Book Review, Current Events, history, Media, Memoir, poetry, politics, songs, stories

To those of you who have adopted to follow my presence on Artfinder a note of thanks


To those of you who have adopted to follow my presence on Artfinder a note of thanks.

This seems to me to be an appropriate medium to express my thanks to you. You come from a wide variety of countries and your presence has me feel that I am part of a wider community of artists.

The response to my work so recently mounted and still going up on Artfinder, is encouraging.

Those of  you who are followers of this blog who are reading this will have noticed that my graphic art work has in recent times been noted as being available at Saatchi Art and or Artfinder. Hence this post.

Again thank you.

Malcolm D B Munro
Monday 13 March, 2017

Filed under: Arts, Current Events, history, Media, Memoir, poetry, politics, songs, stories

To Visitors and Followers of Towards a Better Democracy: an appreciation


To Visitors and Followers of Towards a Better Democracy: an appreciation

At frequent intervals I reach out to those of you who visit the site and those of you who have generously adopted to follow the blog to tell you how much I appreciate you.

To share has meaning to me. It is simply part of my nature and that I have this blog and that you visit and follow it allows me to share with you my interests and predilitions.

I seldom comment since I think the site and its content speaks for itself. But I will take this opportunity to note with satisfaction as I reach through the tiny corners of the content of Youtube to discover new music the extent of the interest in this music.

To be part of such a community is quite something. And to be one of those creating it …

I do not pander to popular taste. That there are others who share my interests is gratifying. After all,  one does live on one’s own in this world. And spouses and friends can hardly be expected to like or admire what we do.

Thank you.

Malcolm D B Munro
Monday 13 March, 2017

 

 

 

Filed under: Book Review, Current Events, history, Media, Memoir, poetry, politics, songs, stories

The back story: Trump Shuttle


The back story: Trump Shuttle

Malcolm D B Munro
Thursday 9 March, 2017

Filed under: Arts, Current Events, history, Media, poetry, politics, songs, stories

We take more and give less: How self-employed backlash could decimate the Tory majority at a future election


We take more and give less: How self-employed backlash could decimate the Tory majority at a future election

Malcolm D B Munro
Thursday 9 March, 2017

Filed under: Arts, Current Events, history, Media, poetry, politics, songs, stories

Is this a volcano or just a fire: Donald Trump campaign spoke with Russian ambassador about closer cooperation five months before election


Donald Trump campaign spoke with Russian ambassador about closer cooperation five months before election

Malcolm D B Munro
Wednesday 8 March, 2017

Filed under: Arts, Current Events, history, Media, Memoir, poetry, politics, songs, stories

In the US under the present White House incumbent is like living in a house where the children are in charge: Senate Republicans are worried Donald Trump is mentally ill


In the US under the present White House incumbent is like living in a house where the children are in charge: Senate Republicans are worried Donald Trump is mentally ill

Malcolm D B Munro
Tuesday 14 February, 2017

Filed under: Arts, Current Events, history, Media, poetry, politics, songs, stories

An explanation


Some of you who visit and those who follow the site may have noticed a gap in the music I put up. An explanation of why this is so would not be out of place.

I have spent my life listening to music and, to a far lesser extent, studying it and am familiar with the whole range of the Western tradition of music.

Youtube is a cornucopia of resources for music. There is almost no corner of music performance which is not up on the Web. This allows me to discover composers with whom I am quite unfamilar.

 But missing in what I put up and what I listen to is music of the Classical Period and the Romantic Period.

A favorite has always been Baroque music. I find it glorious, such a celebration of life. And the number of composers of the period is vast. Almost every court, large and small, in Europe had a resident composer. And each composer was connected to the movements and styles of the rest of Europe, those countries and areas outwith the area in which he composed and worked. For example, I am currently listing to Carlos Seixas, whose music I haven’t put up yet. He is influenced, by among others, the German style of the period. I am not sure how composers all over Europe were aware of each other’s music. Perhaps as one composer travelled from one court to another the traditions and styles travelled with him. Also you find a German in England, an Italian in a German Court. And so on.

This interconnectedness is all the more remarkable since music manuscripts were not printed during this time but were copied by hand from the original manuscript.

What appeals to me so much about the Baroque period are the sonorities and the instruments. The former has a pungency which is lacking in later periods. The instruments are still not perfected so do not have the almost lifeless smoothness of later instruments. The playing style too is quite different from later periods. There is an exuberance generally lacking in later periods. The musical form is more more interesting and varied than that of later musical styles. Both Classical and Romantic music is restricted to three movements; fast, slow, fast. Frankly boring in that there are no surprises. Baroque also draws on dance forms popular at the time which are usually lively and each distinct in its own right.

Growing up, Baroque music was quite unperformed and unrecorded. The staples of recordings and performances were of the big guns. You can only listen to a piano sonata by Beethoven, for example, no matter how wonderful the music is and no matter how exquisite the permanence of that music is . Finally, I find too music of the Classical and Romantic eras smooth and lifeless. This is not however in the least true of, say, an opera by Mozart, among the greatest glories of the entire corpus of music.

As I say, until my twenties Baroque was absent. Pioneers like Sir Neville Marinner and his group of musicians, Academy of Saint Martins in the Field, and records labels like Argo who paid close attention to the exigencies of the recording techniques required to properly capture the music, began to emerge.

However Marinner’s group employed modern instruments and one felt there was something lacking.

It took people like Gustave Leonhardt and Nicholas Harnoncourt to develop playing and presences styles that mirrored Baroque practice and to adopt the use of original instruments. This transformed the sound of the music. This was  accompanied by the emergence of recording companies such as l’Oiseau-Lyre in France and the Archiv label in Germany that had a sensitivity towards the needs of chamber music which, for the most part is what Baroque music is. This development was required because 100 piece orchestras have quite different needs over the smaller ensemble of Baroque music. Instruments like the modern piano are loud compared to the sheer quiet of a harpsichord which was designed for small rooms with a an audience numbering in, at most, twenties, whereas the piano had to fill a vast concert hall with a thousand or so in attendance. And this was before amplification was used in performance.

One must note the exception in talking of sheer volume and note that choral Church music of the Baroque period, and before, was amplified so to speak by the vast, echoing cathedrals in which it was performed. Churches ceased to commission music on a regular basis after the Baroque period and services become austere as a result. Bach, for example, was commissioned to come up with a new, major work every week.

I don’t suppose any of you noticed the absence of the music I talk of above. But here is why. Perhaps in the future I shall be able to return to the music of Tchaikovsky which I so loved as a child, and to Joseph Haydn, whose fabulous music I listened to in my thirties.

Finally, I disliked CDs over vinyl records. The music recorded on CDs is harsh and brittle and lacks the warmth of of LPs. The sound on Youtube is far, far better. In addition, Youtube opens up endless vistas. More and more undeservedly forgotten composers will be rediscovered and revived continually enriching our music listening experience.

Malcolm D B Munro
Tuesday 14 February, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

Filed under: Arts, Current Events, history, Media, Memoir, poetry, songs, stories

New build British steam locomotives: Tornado, Peppercorn Class A1 Pacific


New build British steam locomotives: Tornado, Peppercorn Class A1 Pacific

tornado2

Tornado3.pngTornado completed 2008

Malcolm D B Munro
Saturday 11 February, 2017

Filed under: Arts, Current Events, history, Media, Memoir, poetry, songs, stories

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