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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Epic


I've always been fond of epic... when a student I loved Kalevala, Ulysses and all the sagas and tales every nation proudly owns and cherishes.

Now, I found that "epic" quality to be peculiar to some kind of music... it's an elusive but very recognizable feature only a bunch of very selected music owns: it's not only in Mahler or Beethoven or Bach or Miles... it's not a monopoly of Greatests, only...

I recently - it was yesterday evening - found it in an obscure, yet awesome John Tchicai's disc on Steeplechase titled "Real Tchicai" - it's John on alto sax, Pierre Dorge on electric guitar and Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen on double bass...

Its melodies, also on shortest tracks - i.e. Moksha Point, Blue Barrier or the beautiful Mirjam's Dadadance, own a shiny perfection, an anthem-like airy solidness I simply NEED to listen to it... as I need drinking water.

So... what's "epic" in music?

It's not a war-march, nor an army-camp singing, neither the Seven Dwarfs returning from the diamond mine and singing;-))) - it can be sad or joyful, BUT always it's moving, hitting some inner-string; another example which comes to my mind is "The Sailor Boy", a tune as played at the piano by Benjamin Britten, with Peter Pears singing... it's bold, fiery, pure... it's a two and a half minutes long symphony, a little self-contained gem.




It's a very definite "sense of uniqueness" belonging to this or that tune... an immediate (personal) chart-buster which need to be re-listened pronto, again and again.

I'm not a philosopher, maybe I'm wrong, BUT it seems to me the character of Tchicai's as Robbie Basho's and others hints to something which is both easy and complex, new and ancient, already heard, yet brand-new... like coming from a common "humankind memory" or whatever...

... and the ear, maybe our most unbiased and sincere sense... well, "recognizes" it...

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