“Father Forgets” Poem by W. Livingston Larned

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“Father Forgets” Poem by W. Livingston Larned

I found this poem today, and wow, very insightful.

“Father Forgets”

Listen, son: I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltily I came to your bedside.

There are the things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing1ba02368beb86448a594353977c100b4 for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a towel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor.

At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, “Goodbye, Daddy!” and I frowned, and said in reply,

“Hold your shoulders back!”

Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came up the road I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before your boyfriends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Stockings were expensive‐and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, from a father!

Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesitated at the door. “What is it you want?” I snapped. You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither.

And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs. Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me?

The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding‐this was my reward to you for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too much of youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years.

And there was so much that was good and fine and true in your character. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself over the wide hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bedside in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed!

It is feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: “He is nothing but a boy‐a little boy!”

I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother’s arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much.

-W. Livingston Larned

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Mahler’s 9th symphony, 4th Mov. – Symphony Genre Evolution

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Mahler’s 9th symphony, 4th Mov. – Symphony Genre Evolution

In this piece, the evolution of the symphony as a musical genre, all the way from Haydn up until Mahler is examined briefly. I look at Mahler’s music, and what about it embodies the Romantic style, and what about it is so different from Haydn or Mozart’s music.

Symphony evolved in form and structure from Haydyn’s style (following a stricter format) to Mahler’s styles (less constraints and more realism). Haydn’s music was part of the classical era. Features of Haydn’s symphony are that it was tuneful and “choppy” music, and the melody was clear. Beethoven was somewhat a “middleman” bridging the gap between the classical and romantic era. Historical events (eg. wars, Industrial revolution) in the romantic era influenced changes various art forms (painting and literature). Mahler’s use of resolution, tonality and tension in his music is very typical of the romantic style. In his music, he stretches the system of tonality to its total extreme. Movement 4 of Mahler’s 9th symphony, is filled with a lot of tension, and emotions. Based on his background of grief, loss, and tragedies, he uses the music as a form of self-expression. In this movement, I found bitter-sweet emotions in the music, a lot of movement from major chords to movement to minor chords. Unlike Haydn and Mozart’s music that had much more restraint and served to entertain the audience; Mahler’s romantic style was that of realism, and focused on the composer’s emotion.

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Enthauptung (No. 13), Pierrot Lunaire – Atonality, sprechstimme, and the chamber ensemble orchestration techniques

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Enthauptung (No. 13), Pierrot Lunaire – Atonality, sprechstimme, and the chamber ensemble orchestration techniques

This piece examines how the musical techniques of atonality, sprechstimme, and the chamber ensemble orchestration techniques contribute to the overall affect of the music. On a personal note this style of singing in Enthauptung (No. 13) from Pierrot Lunaire, has an eerie feel. I think it does well to re-emphasize the composer’s goal – to express themselves, not impress the listener or make them feel good. I think that is interestingly odd, but I am guessing this style of music was influenced by the age/times they lived in – the early 20th century in Europe. This was not exactly a happy time – this is very well reflected in a lot of music, and art in general.

Atonality (0.03-1.01): Atonality produces this feeling of “lost-ness” “uncertainty”, because the music does not have a concrete resolution. Listening to this music, I mentally picture the character being spun round severally, without any particular destination. Further, the music did not sound like it was played in a specific key. This atonal music style is not musically pleasing (somewhat uncomfortable).

Sprechstimme (0.15-1.01): In this piece, the “singer” almost sounds like she is speaking because the rhythm is quite fast (e.g. .50-1.00), but then it is not absolute speech, because of the “rising” and “falling” of those undefined pitch sounds (e.g. .20-.29 & .40-.46). Using this technique, emphasizes that this style of music does not wish to impress the audience – by showing off the virtuosity of the singer. I believe this speech-singing style turns the listener’s attention to the whole performance – rather than just enjoying the singer’s song.

Chamber ensemble orchestration (0.03-1.01):The orchestration sounded like a 2 to 5 instruments. The orchestration produces this “spooky” feeling that surrounds the character’s performance. The music produced by these instruments sounded really “scarce” or “sparse” – they did not sound “full” like in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.

 

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