“Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.” – Ludwig van Beethoven. It is almost universally held that music, be it classical, hip-hop, rock, or any other genre, affects one on a deeper level than just “sounds going into the ears.” In ancient Egyptian culture, music was used heavily during celebrations and religious ceremonies. One of the major instruments used was an instrument called a Zummara, a simple flute made from two pieces of reed. This seemingly random fact brings to light the fact that while most commercially produced music today is produced using an array of music instruments and editing techniques, it does not claim to be a “higher version” of music. Rather, music made in both ancient and contemporary times is really another expression of art that does not necessarily have a definitive form or genre. The difference is one’s subjective view on the genre based on how the music speaks to each individual. While this week’s musical spotlight is not on ancient compilations and sounds, it features a couple of songs from diverse genres that may “speak” to the listener.
Rock – “Black” by Pearl Jam. This song was originally released on Pearl Jam’s debut album “Ten” in August of 1991 and reached second on the Billboard 200 charts. “Black” is a soliloquy about a man who has lost his love and now the world around him is all black and meaningless. The song talks of how “quick the sun can drop away,” referencing how quickly he has lost his love. This quote can relate to many listeners who have gone through the process of losing a loved one. As the song puts it, the lost love will be “in someone else’s sky,” a fact that the writer can not come to terms with. “Black” reached third on the Billboard mainstream rock category in 1992 for a reason. It is a song that shows the sadness and heartache of losing a love. For this reason, it is a song that should not be overlooked.
Classical – “Fra Hoolbergs tid (Holberg Suite), Op. 40: IV Air” composed by Edvard Grieg as performed by the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra. Yes, the title is a little confusing, but the song can be found on YouTube and other popular sites. While clearly the lesser known of the two songs in this week’s music review, this does not take away from the song’s inherent beauty. Most have heard the works of Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart, and Bach, yet few have heard a composition from Grieg. Grieg lived from 1843 to 1907 and is considered one of Norway’s “National Composers.” The Holberg Suite itself was originally written for piano, but was later arranged for a string orchestra. The depth and beauty of this song, to many, is unrivaled and is a cherished classic. For extra fun, listen to the entire Holberg Suite. It will not disappoint.