Wednesday, September 13, 2006

My Seventieth Post

For the Seventieth post I wanted to do something different, so I thought I would dip into one of the growing traditions of the blogesphere and answer some of the questions that nobody has been asking. Now, for the record, I have encountered many blogs where there is a post and the writer literally answers 100 assorted questions … this is NOT what I’m going to do (well, at least, as I start writing this, that isn’t my intention … I have been known … am known … for divergent tangents that dramatically alter the outcome of my original course).

Bloggers regularly answer extended lists of seemingly random questions that reveal very little about their true selves (except, perhaps, for their lack of complexity as humans … but that is likely something to be addressed in a much later post). For that reason, and because I despise “filling in the blanks” I’ve decided to make up my own list of questions … and they are (for the most part) actually going to provide you, my dear reader, with a greater insight into the mind that is being used to create the “Inner Voice” … as for being the CrazyComposer, well, that’s just who I am, but knowing more about the Inner Voices may provide an opportunity to laugh, relate, give pause, and perhaps even cry: but it will not deceive.

The questions are in no random order (though I may re-order some of them after writing the entire post … just being honest, folks).

1) Name the five people from the Twentieth Century that you would like to have had an opportunity to meet or know (not including musicians). Why these people?

The first would have to be Dr Viktor Frankl, creator of Logotherapy. Frankl survived Auschwitz with a new outlook on life: those who were able to find a “why” to live amongst the horrors of war were able to preserve their will to live better than those who surrendered to the situation.

My second choice would be Albert Einstein: as a brilliant scientist and humanitarian from a humble background, Einstein epitomizes the “genius” without losing the humanity of the man. Einstein, I believe, would be a perfect compliment for my third choice: Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I have a dream,” amongst his other impassioned speeches are merely the tip of the iceberg of an intellect that had far much more to contribute to the world before the world decided it didn’t want anything more to do with him.

My fourth choice also compliments my previous selections (I wonder if this could represent something), but could stand on his own quite easily, he is Mahatma Gandhi: the man who brought “turning the other cheek” from an idea in the New Testament to a practice that changed the world.

My final choice is a not a man at all, but a woman, one whom I have admired and respected since I first read her memoir and other books. Dr Kay Redfield Jamison is a brilliant psychologist who has greatly expanded the knowledge we have relating to bi-polar disorder and she has done groundbreaking research into the relationship between affect and creativity (as Dr Jamison is still, very much alive, I’m hoping that there may be a future meeting at some point … alas, for the others, this is not an option). Six ... Benjamin Amsel ... my grandfather who died the year before I was born.

2) Same question, but from “Ancient History”. Again, Why?

Jesus (Yeshua). Why? Well, considering my beliefs, I’m not overly concerned about the “end of the world” or any of the other things that the extreme fundamentalists (emphasis on “MENTAL”) are freaking about with the regularity of someone with dysentery. I would love to “meet the man” as he was.

My second choice would be Michelangelo. In my mind, this is the greatest of the Renaissance artists … sorry Leonardo. The perfection he achieved in sculpting and through his frescos cannot be matched.

My third choice is a man that history has largely ignored, though his bravery, intelligence and intense, uncompromising spirit, serve as a beacon for anyone with the bravery to explore his life: Frederick Douglass, born a slave, died a free man, Douglass may have served as a slave, but he was never enslaved.

My fourth choice would be … Moses. Well, if Jesus is there, we’ll have wine, but who knows, we may need something … parted. No, seriously, another time to see the “real” man, NOT the version that everyone remembers as portrayed by the NRA poster-boy.

My final choice, and this was an easy one, would be Lorenzo de’ Medici. There is a dark side to the Medici’s, relating to their manipulation of the Roman Catholic Church, but Lorenzo il Magnifico, as he was known, was one of the greatest patrons of the arts in all of history … which leads me to my next questions.

3) Name Five composers from the past (pre-1945) that you would like to meet or know. Why?

My first selection would have to be Johann Sebastian Bach. It seems so trite, but this is not “just” a composer: Bach is the apotheosis of Baroque music. His works are so far beyond his contemporaries, music historians should classify the period this way: Music by Bach; Music by other composers. When my mother was pregnant with me she used to listen to Bach’s “Brandenburg Concertos” and some of Beethoven’s nine symphonies. I have no doubt that this in vitro exposure to musical masterpieces awoke and encouraged my musical abilities (this has been demonstrated in medical studies performed on others).

After Bach there are so many lined up that it is quite difficult to boil a list down to four (thus, the challenge), but I shall try. Mozart (if only to find out if he really did have a form of Tourette’s syndrome [supported by his obsession with certain things in his letters to his sister], as well as to be in the presence of one of the most brilliant minds.

Of course, how could I meet famous composers of the past and not include Ludwig. Ludwig van Beethoven, perhaps my favourite of all, the master of … well, everything he touched.

The fourth composer I would choose would be Robert Schumann, a kindred spirit in many ways because of what he lived with while he composed.

... which brings me to my final choice ... and the reason I worded my question the way I did.

Alban Berg was one of the “bad boys” of the Second Viennese School founded by Arnold Schoenberg and including Anton Webern. My reason for including Berg (who died in 1935) is not because of his larger chamber works, or his groundbreaking opera “Lulu”, but rather for his very first published work: his “Piano Sonata, Opus 1” is one of the most divinely perfect pieces of music that I have ever encountered in my life, I would love to have met the mind behind that music. Six … Mahler!

4) If money were no object, what would you do? After going to several music stores and finding a neck-through bass, with a decent combo amp, but wait … how much money? What a stupid question. I’ve promised several people that if I win the lottery I’d be paying their tuition … that would definitely be the first priority (though there is a store with that bass), there are several other things that I’d like to do, including the formation of an ensemble for the performance of new music (mine) in concert and on recordings … ah, to dream, perchance to win.

5) Who is the most dangerous person in the world, and why?

This one is easy: most people would expect the answer to be Osama bin Laden, but he doesn’t have command of the most technologically advanced military in the history of humanity. bin Laden may have money, but he doesn’t have access to a navy that includes the Nimitz-class supercarriers, which will be augmented in 2015 by the CVN-21 class carrier that is projected to cost $13 BILLION dollars.

The most dangerous person in the world is George W. Bush. Anyone who could turn a tragedy like 9/11 into a reason to attack, invade and occupy a nation that had absolutely nothing to do with the attack demonstrates that he is a despot just looking for action. Five years after the 9/11 attacks more Americans have died in the contrived wars that George Bush wanted from the day of his inauguration than were actually killed in the original attack. Does anyone see a problem with that? I didn’t think so.
George W. Bush: The Most Dangerous Man Alive.

Well … that’s five questions, but honest answers. I can only hope that the next seventy posts on this blog continue to be as honest as I try to be at all times. Thank you for returning to experience something of my “Inner Voice”, and exploring the world as I see it (or trip over it, whichever seems more realistic).


DesertPeace said...

Mazal Tov on your 70th post! In Jewish tradition, 70 is a 'special' number... it is the number of years that makes up what a complete life is... everything after that is part of a new beginning. Pius Jews celebrate a second 'Bar Mitzvah' at the age of 83... giving emphasis to the number 70.
So, with your 70th post, look at it as a new beginning and keep on going!
Excelent questions BTW... and brilliant answers.

Ben Heine said...

Hello, thanks a lot for adding me in your links page. Your Blog is very well done! B.

CrazyComposer (aka Peter Amsel) said...

Thank you for the kind words, Ben. I have been very impressed with your work since my father (Desert Peace) began using them on his site, and I'm hoping to use some of them myself if there is an appropriate occasion.

As for the link, you are very welcome - I just hope more people get to see your fine work.

Take care,

Renegade Eye said...

I guess I couldn't miss #70.

Very revealing Q and A.