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The entertainer

By Michael Moriarty
web posted June 25, 2018

Part Three of my series on Joseph Haydn is incomplete and I haven’t the requisite passion to finish it.

Might such a necessity return?

That depends.

On what?

The balance between my three heroically composing idols: Bach, Haydn and Beethoven.

They will all play a major part in my Symphony No. 6, which is still under construction.

Johann, Joseph and Ludwig
Johann, Joseph and Ludwig

I doubt if their presence will be immediately recognizable.

All of them are not represented by their own music.

All are, as they say, “in the style of…”!

Why?

Good question.

The “Symphony” has been labeled as a now exhausted format.

By whom?

Good question I can’t answer. That’s how successful this “Force-for-murdering-all-modern-symphonies” has been.

Symphonies in the Third Millennium have just stopped happening or “The Media” has deliberately ignored those composers foolish enough to stay with “The Symphony”!

I believe The Symphony will become as ubiquitous and eternally kept alive as The Drama has been.

Its three to four movements of music, rather like three to four acts – five for Shakespeare – of comedy and drama in the theater, they will remain forever!

Story-telling!!

Both theater and symphonies are about story-telling.

The “Story” within my Symphony No. 6?

I will share my version of that story when that particular symphony of mine is completed.

Three major characters in it, however, are, indeed, Johann Sebastian Bach, Joseph Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven.

Some listeners, I am most certain, might say:

“Nothing in Michael’s 6th symphony
resembles
any of The Greats”.
That includes 20th Century symphonies
By Stravinsky
And
Shostakovich!!

That’s just one reason most Third Millennium, Serious composers don’t even attempt a symphony.

Perhaps I’m not “Serious”.

I’ve sincerely considered that possibility.

Many years ago, a “Serious” musician introduced me as “an Entertainer”!

She was also introducing, in the rather legendary Cathedral of St. John The Divine Cathedral in New York City, my Symphony for String Orchestra.

I am certain her label, “entertainer”, was a very “entre-nous” put-down of whatever “seriousness” had ever entered my entire life, including my career as an actor.

She and her friends are “serious” and I, even with Tony and Emmy Awards for acting, am “an entertainer”.

John Osborne, the indisputably “serious” British playwright, author of “Look Back In Anger”, also created the most contemptuous portrait of The Entertainerone might possibly concoct.

The great Laurence Olivier, an indisputably “serious” actor, agreed to deliver that role.

He, along with Mr. Osborne, wanted to pass on their mutually contemptuous opinion of The Entertainer!

Entertainer
The Entertainer,
A Profoundly “Un-Serious” Fool

Almost a villain!!

Certainly, one of that period’s fashionable “anti-heroes”.

Now, having been formally dubbed “an entertainer” by a “serious” artist, a moment in my life that I am now enshrining, THIS particular “Entertainer”, myself that is, has begun his own particular counter-revolution, looking back in anger at the men who liked looking, even at their own, paying audiences, with anger and with the profoundest contempt.

They, like the “serious artist” in the Cathedral, secretly want to tell you this, in their bitterest tones:

“Tell me
where and when
 you are next appearing,
Mr. and Mrs. Audience,
and I will come
 and see YOU!”

Alienation!

Bertolt Brecht
The Godfather of “Alienation”

Bertolt Brecht, an entertainingly angry giant long before John Osborne had even thought of anger as a way to make a living, introduced “alienation” into the theater.

Brecht was a brilliant “Entertainer” and gifted opportunist, selling his bitter philosophy called   “alienation” as “history-in-the-making-with-The Berliner Ensemble”!

Brecht was, I’m sure, quite surprised by how quickly his audiences began to take him and his “alienation” seriously!!

His total pretense at being a Communist was necessitated by his theater’s presence in Communist East Berlin.

He, as even he claimed repeatedly, was NOT a Communist!

Basically, his personal opinion about everything:

“I AM THE GREAT BERTOLT BRECHT!!!”

If I am merely “an entertainer”, then so was Bertolt Brecht. ESR

Michael Moriarty is a Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actor who starred in the landmark television series Law and Order from 1990 to 1994. His recent film and TV credits include The Yellow Wallpaper, 12 Hours to Live, Santa Baby and Deadly Skies. Contact Michael at rainbowfamily2008@yahoo.com. He can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/@MGMoriarty.

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