- light-hearted thread, ok? -
We don't know too much about the dark ages, except that they were dark, but kicking in at the Renaissance, we have Dowland being beautifully melancholy about unrequited love and Henry VIII shouting off about Pastime with Good Company, but these guys were seriously trumped by William Byrd and Thomas Tallis (from the Catholic & Protestant camps, respectively). Round 1, Renaissance, for God.
Monteverdi led music from the Renaissance to the Baroque, and made a pretty good attempt at focusing it on Greek mythology. Henry Purcell supported him from the English flank. But it wasn't long till Bach came storming in with St John's and St Matthew's Passions. Round 2, Baroque, for God.
Baroque gave way to Classical and here things get a bit difficult. The hands down greatest exponent was Mozart, with a foot in both camps. The Magic Flute is deeply spiritual but is Masonic (Zoroastrian) in its philosophy. Weigh this against his Ave Verum Corpus and his Requiem, and I think we have to declare the Classical era, Round 3, undecided.
Classical passed on to Romantic, but not easily. The only talent worthy to take the torch from Mozart was Beethoven. He seemed torn between sentimental pastoralism and outright militarism for quite some time. The Devil was probably quite happy with that. He also had a supreme champion in Schubert, the most sensual composer ever (discounting the as yet unborn fraud Puccini). The Devil's big mistake was to let Schubert's syphilis kill him before Beethoven's killed him. Beethoven trumped, for God, with Symphony no 9 (Hymn of Joy). Round 4, early Romantic, for God, in the last seconds.
Late Romantic = Big Stupid Opera - The Devil's Round 5, no question.
Early 20th Century. Interesting. People started saying, Why does the Devil have all the best tunes? This was in response to the rise of ragtime and early jazz.
But Bruckner and Brahms were handing over the sacred torch to Messiaen and Britten. We start to see stratification. God is interested in (or interesting to?) only the educated classes, and has abandoned the hoi poloi to his ancient enemy.
Late 20th Century. No serious composers take God's torch from Britten. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sir Paul McCartney write dismal Requiems and are mocked by Elvis Costello. A few 'rock for Jesus' outfits appear and are, without exception, dull.
At the time of writing, God has lost the musical plot.
P.S. Believing in neither God nor the Devil, I offer this purely in the spirit of fun!
"Sympathy for the Devil" -1
"My Sweet Lord" +1
It all equals out!
Thanks for the links. I'll check them out later (after work!)
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