The Well-Tempered Ear

Here is some classical music for voting in a presidential and Congressional election and waiting for the results. | November 6, 2012

ALERT: This Friday night at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall, UW cellist Parry Karp (below), who also plays in the Pro Arte String Quartet, will perform a FREE concert. He will perform with pianists brother Christopher Karp and father Howard Karp. The program features “Angélus! Prière aux anges gardiens” from Third Year of “Years of Pilgrimage” by Franz Liszt; the WORLD PREMIERE of MADISON-BORN AND UW-MADISON-EDUCATED COMPOSER Nils Bultmann’s Suite for Solo Cello, an homage to J.S. Bach‘s Solo Cello Suite No. 1; “Lasst mich allein,” Op. 82, No. 1, by Dvorak; Sonata in D major for Piano and Cello, Op. 102, No. 2, by Beethoven; Hungarian Rhapsody No. 5 “Héroïde-Élégiaque” by Liszt; and the Sonata in F minor for Piano and Clarinet, Op. 120, No. 1, by Johannes Brahms and transcribed by Parry Karp.

By Jacob Stockinger

Well, it’s too bad, isn’t it, that we don’t have the American equivalent of British ceremonial music for coronations and other major public events.

After all, today happens only once every four years.

It is Presidential Election Day in the U.S. with the entire world watching whether incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama (below top) wins reelection or whether Republican Party challenger Mitt Romney (below bottom) successfully unseats him – to say nothing of how the US Senate and House end up going.

Such an event would seem to invite music.

But although Baroque composer George Frideric Handel (below) wrote such occasional or ceremonial works as the “Water Musick” and the “Royal Fireworks Musick,” he apparently never got around to penning “Election Musick.”

Of course, democratic elections were not very common when he was composing music back around the 18th century in Germany, Italy and England.

But recently NPR’s outstanding classical music blog “Deceptive Cadence” feature a couple of entries that are pertinent to the special day and event.

One post featured music and the reader quiz about the relevant issue of POLITICS, even with kings and royalty portrayed in opera:

The other posting, using a lot of opera, focused on THE WHITE HOUSE and its parallels in art and opera:

As for me, I don’t really know what music to choose.

But it should be something American, don’t you think?

The pundits and polls say the presidential race is tight, as are many others, and we will all be awaiting word, uplifting or depressing, about the winners. So The Ear thinks that the oh-so-Yankee mysterious and haunting piece “The Unanswered Question” by Charles Ives (below) is a fine choice (see at bottom).

But if you can think of other appropriate classical music – NOT Sousa marches, patriotic songs, doggerel jingles or campaign songs, please –– than please leave a message and a link n the COMMENT section.

Have a good Election Day and don’t forget to get out and vote.

Then listen for word of the winners — and to the beauty of Ives.


1 Comment »

  1. Beethoven’s Op. posth piece Rondo Capriccio, subtitled, “Rage over a Lost Penny” might serve as the rallying music for deficit hawks! I recommend Evgeny Kissin’s version from his Prom Concert DVD.
    Rondo alla Turca , from the Sonata in A minor of Mozart might be a good themesong for those who wish the US would ally with Turkey and do something military in Syria. Lang Lang and a bunch of his students recently performed this en masse on the Leno show.
    Ravel’s piano suite, “Gaspard de la Nuit”, which roughly translates as “The Thief in the Night” might work for anyone who believes that SuperPAC money is responsible for the content of this election season. The three sections are called Ondine, a female water sprite who tantalizes and disappears, then Le Gibet, the gibbet, or gallows, and Scarbo, a dwarfish ogre who haunts one’s dreams.
    What sort of political hash can one make from these phantasmagorical images? Who is Ondine, Ann Romney, or Ann Coulter, or even Sue Thompson? Where can the gallows be, at the DNC, or the RNC? at the offices of American Crossroads, Karl Rove’s SuperPAC, or at the studio where the Colbert Report is taped, draped with an American flag, and the body of some corporation hanging there, first designated a citizen with rights of free speech by the Supreme Court, then hung for crimes against Democracy.
    Who is the homunculus that pervades our evening viewing, polluting every advertising break with half-truths and smears for or against the people who will be deciding how to avoid sliding down the impending fiscal cliff, or deciding how to get Warren Buffet to be subject to the same rate of taxation as his secretary!
    Valentina Lesitsa has a good version of Gaspard on her Pink and Black DVD. I do not provide links, as I always encourage music fans to BUY rather than view online, as the artist needs the money, and hard copy is yours forever!
    Of course, if one is caught standing in a VERY long line to vote, one must have an iPod with the Ring Cycle on it, so you can be reminded that there are some things that take even longer to unfold than the democratic process. That PBS one took an entire week of evenings!

    Comment by Michael BB — November 6, 2012 @ 8:56 am

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