Sunday, 16 November 2014

PANDAEMONIUM—is Paradise Lost?

They destroyed my TV. I used to enjoy a good movie, even some distorted one-sided-parochial news bulletins; or even a good satire by some bright, over-sarcastic host.
No more!
A handful of moronic, stone-deaf, self-centered, money-grabbing, retarded producers, appealing to the lowest common denominator, have willfully sabotaged my pleasure. They ruined perfectly good programs by superimposing excruciating pandemonium on virtually all plots. They allowed noisy, screechy, grating, jarring soundtracks to overpower the often-talented authors, actors, and composers.
Noise prevails during conversations, driving through wild forests, in the depth of oceans, in outer space… everywhere. No respect for artists, drama, music, not even for the sounds of nature. They kill them all.  

Around 1652 John Milton has composed an epic poem, “Paradise Lost”. In it, he refers to the capital of Hell as Pandaemonium: the place where noise is ubiquitous, drowning the divine silence from which all beauty, indeed the whole Universe emerged. Before the Big Bang, if there were such, there was Nothing. This Nothing was filled with divine silence. It was the abode of GOD. Not the god of religions that sits upon a cloud and controls us with carrots and sticks. The real GOD. The GOD of Infinite Potential.
if music be the food of love…
Music, too, was born of Divine Silence.

It was downhill ever since. The present day TV producers are the final coffin nails. For music and drama to survive we must kill TV. Or to kill the producers—perhaps stretching their thick skins over the ubiquitous percussive instruments of torture. Unfortunately, I suspect, that might be illegal.

Milton had lost his eyesight. Completely. He composed Paradise Lost entirely through dictation. Had there been noise while he was dictating, amanuenses and friends would have missed some of the poetry. It would have been lost due to noise, like on TV, the modern gates of hell.  
No more… ’Tis not as sweet now as it was before…
Each time I clicked on the TV set I was drawn into the depth of human depravity. Murder, theft, explicit sex and noise. Constant NOISE. Whenever anyone talked, a veritable pandemonium accompanied his or her every word. Evidently the producers thought that actors’ words were not worth listening to. Conversely, the dissonant ‘music’ was so bad, so lacking in beauty, that someone talking while the ‘music’ played was of no consequence.
Lately the noise of the soundtrack talk began to drown all conversation. They added machinegun fire, exploding bombs, screech of tires and other extraneous deafening sound-effects to further obliterate any pleasure one might have derived from either music or lackadaisical conversation. Even ludicrous “laugh-track” drowned the actors’ speech.
Instead there was continuous, ongoing pandemonium. They invited us to Hell and made us pay for the trip.

Yet some of us retained the power to create music, real music, which makes heaven on earth. Ann Howell was one such person. When she played no one dared to speak. They listened. Find out for yourself. 

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  1. I knew it! Under all that good humour was a veritable fury possible. The death of silence, restraint, aesthetic judgement justifiably outraged. The importance of silence to frame words and music is illustrated in this hand held live performance of the Beethoven concerto slow movement Interested in another violinist's opinion?

  2. Had I spoken only to you, there would have been only sadness. But at the butchers of beauty, particularly butchers of music, I must vent my spleen.

    Thanks for Ludwig. Have you tried early Yehudi?

    1. Yes. Somewhat undermined by later encounters!