from Monday, August4th of the year2008.
Is there anything more heart-rending than seeing somebody walking a dog, and the dog is carrying the leash in his mouth? I feel like that moment operates on a variety of different levels, but the one most touching to me is the dog taking an implicit command of his confinement. My experience, though, is that dogs who have this habit are happiest not to run away with the keys to prison, but to happily trot on with a sense of pride. I like it.
I have been listening to this amazing Buxtehude cantata, Mit Fried Und Freud Ich Fahr Dahin. Buxtehude is the composer & organist whom Bach once famously walked 250 miles to hang out with. This cantata was evidently written on the death of Buxtehude’s father in 1674. Hermann Keller writes:
These two chorale movements, entitled by Buxtehude “Contrapunctus I and II,” are from the funeral music on the death of his father (1674) and are in quadruple counterpoint, i.e., the 4 voices can be mutually interchanged. In the “Evolutio” these possibilities are developed: in the 1st the soprano becomes bass, bass becomes soprano, alto tenor, and tenor alto; the whole is transposed into the dominant. The 2nd “Evolutio” brings (except for a few notes at the end) the mirror form; the voices are not only interchanged as in the first example but are also brought in inversion. source
Essentially, what this means is that Buxtehude took this chorale melody (which is a tune that most people would know, like a hymn), put it down, flipped it, and reversed it. The theme exists right-side upp and upp-side down. This sounds super clever-clogs, but in reality, the effect is the spiritual equivalent of being able to see your house from a plane: familiar but distantly pulsing. The most explicit example of this effect is five minutes in, when the sopranos slowly intone the melody.
[audio:03 Mit Fried Und Freud Ich Fahr Dahin.mp3]
Dietrich Buxtehude Mit Fried Und Freud Ich Fahr Dahin
Collegium Vocale, Jos van Immerseel, Orchestra Anima Eterna & The Royal Consort