La Cathédrale Engloutie

Wordpress: Given that atoms consist almost entirely out of empty space, why can’t I walk through a wall?

Today everyone was on election-craze.

There are posters everywhere, from coloured ones to black-and-white versions, from entrance to the toilet's cubicles, and all. Perhaps if one day when the cubicle's toilet paper is finished people will start to use those posters to wipe their asses. There were discussions on "voting who" and "support who" everywhere and I feel that some of the candidates for presidency seems to be...hmm, prefer not to disclose. Anyway I was truly surprised when Abby said that she was going for treasurer instead of presidency. She has near-100% chance to become the president. But that's her choice, so, no choice.

I feel that I love impressionism period's music, especially Debussy's. I've just read about the details of one of his famous piece, La Cathédrale Engloutie (The Sunken Cathedral) in Wikipedia yesterday:
This piece is based on an ancient Breton myth in which a cathedral, which is submerged underwater off the coast of the Island of Ys, rises up from the sea on clear mornings when the water is transparent. Sounds can be heard of priests chanting, bells chiming, and the organ playing, from across the sea. Accordingly, Debussy uses certain harmonies to allude to the plot of the legend, in the style of musical impressionism.

To begin the piece, Debussy uses parallel fifths in excess. The use of stark, open fifths here allude to the idea of church bells that sound from the distance, across the ocean. These chords bring to mind two things: 1) the Eastern pentatonic scale, which Debussy heard during a performance of Javanese gamelan music at the 1889 Universal Exhibition in Paris, and 2) medieval chant music, similar to the organa in parallel fifths from the Musica enchiriadis, a 9th century treatise on music. The shape of the ascending phrase is perhaps a representation of the cathedral's slow emergence from the water.

After the beginning section, Debussy gently brings the cathedral out of the water by modulating to B major, shaping the melody in a wave-like fashion, and including important narrative instructions in measure 16: Peu à peu sortant de la brume (Emerging from the fog little by little). This shows Debussy at his closest manifestation of musical impressionism. Then, after a section marked Augmentez progressivement (Slowly growing), the cathedral has emerged and the grand organ is heard at a dynamic level of fortissimo (measures 28-41). This is the loudest and most profound part of the piece, and is described in the score as Sonore sans dureté. Following the grand entrance and exit of the organ, the cathedral sinks back down into the ocean (measures 62-66) and the organ is heard once more, but from underwater, a murky, muffled sound (measures 71-82). Finally, the cathedral is gone from sight, and only the bells are heard, at a distant pianissimo.
After reading this I closed my eyes and playbacked the music. It was so beautiful, touching, powerful, and even... real. I could imagine the cathedral emerging from the seawater with water dripping down and its bell ringing... And the grand, majestic church stood up in front of me, its organ played before it slowly submerged back into the ocean with its bell rhythm going... and at last when it is submerged the bell rung from below, murky.

Such beautiful composition.

No comments:

Post a Comment