July 6, 2018

An Essay by Charles E.J. Moulton: "One Day, Rock will be Classical Music"

CHARLES E.J. MOULTON has been a stage performer since age eleven. His trilingual, artistic upbringing, as the son of Gun Kronzell and Herbert Moulton, lead to a hundred stage productions, countless cross-over concerts, work as a bandleader and as an acting teacher. He is a regular contributor for Idea Gems, has written for Shadows Express, Cover of Darkness, Vocal Images and Pill Hill Press. He is a tourguide, a big-band-vocalist, a filmmaker, a painter, a voice-over-speaker, a translator, is married and has a daughter. Charles E.J. Moulton's passion is creative versatility. His short story collection, Aphrodite's Curse: 21 Tales of Love and Terror can be purchased by clicking the link. Homepages:http://www.reverbnation.com/charlesejmoulton/


One Day, Rock will be Classical Music

It must be in my DNA. I think and feel like a rocker. In fact, it's in my blood.
Beyond that, though, I believe that creativity, in its essence, rock or otherwise, is a purely spiritual entity, an urge, it is the language of the soul.
Me just being a rocker just goes along for the ride.

Art, music, ballet, literature, all forms of creativity, they are here as a spiritual possibilities, means of expression, exercises in a workshop devoted to what it is to have feelings, to love, to cry, to wonder, to be ambitious, what it is to be human. We call that life in the universe. Our spiritual home is timeless. Creativity reminds us of that.

While we say it's all entertainment, none of it is, because it constitutes the centre of everything we are as human beings: high and low, left and right, perifery and centre, happy and sad. We are drawn to creativity because we need to see objective versions of ourselves on the creative stage, any artistic stage, and in situations we might be able to relate to, because, ultimately, we know that one of these situations might profoundly affect our lives in a good way. Art helps us realize our fate and find our individual mission.

I call this the art of the eternal moment.

And the eternal moment is forever. The past is our memory, the future is what we hope to be, but if we learn to master the eternal now, we master everything.

The secret is: everything is energy. Our energy. Our spiritual energy. What we feel. No religious ritual will ever bring us closer to the centre or to God than our own emotion. The problem is that for thousands of years mankind perceived God to be outside of himself, independent of himself, like that bearded man on the cloud. If we view how God is perceived to look like, we encounter Michelangelo's picture of God and Adam, where God looks like Moses.
But God is conscious energy. He, she, it can be that stranger on a bus in the famous song.
The fact that God can be inside us, a part of our beings, a part of our existence, a conscious energy, is pure freedom. It means we can use our spiritual energy to create a better world. A better world. What we believe can come true, no matter how insignificant we think we are. We are not. I truly trusted God last year that he would solve the Korean issue. I said to God: "You brought me here for a reason. You won't destroy that. There is much hope in the world. I trust you, God!" Now, the two Korean states are meeting. You do the math. If you think it's not the work of one person, then ask yourself why not? Why not faith? What have you got to lose? If you don't try faith, you'll never know if it really works. And it does, baby. Faith moves mountains, because energy is everything. Imagine what we can do together. Yes, world peace. You name it. If we don't dream big, you remain small.

If creativity is energy, all we do when we create is to try to express our eternity in our art. Subsequently, that has to be the main thing. How we express it is up to us.

What is unfortunate is that human beings limit themselves, focussing on the establishment and social stature of art as opposed to what they should do: use all the technique and professionalism of art to spread out the energy of the creativity, no matter what the genre. The soul of the art is always the main thing, no matter how technically brilliant. That doesn't mean you shouldn't aim for brilliance. Brilliance only supports soul, but soul comes first, because the art is a creative expression coming from the soul.

New forms of art need time to be accepted. That has always been the case. Mozart was the pop music of his day, belittled by the aristocrats. Rock is the secret classical music of today, the creative expression of the modern age. It stems from the African slave songs and has almost a half millennium on its back.
Things are not always what they seem.

So, yes, one day rock will be tomorrow's classical music.

The spiritual energy of that statement is what this is about.

So, before you judge any work of art, ask yourself what your gut feeling, not your brain, tells you about it. That's your ticket to artistic eternity.

I was sitting in the rehearsal room at the opera-house, practicing Donizetti's "L'elisir d'amor". The standard phrasing and italianesque melodies is as familiar to anyone who's heard more than one Italian opera. Quite astounding, I told myself, these ensemble endings all sound the same. The more serious Verdi or the lighter Donizetti or even good old gourmand Rossini, their choruses all end on the twenty-five-time repetition of one word in a three-chord format.
That, I told myself, is exactly what Status Quo has been doing for the last three decades in the rock stadiums. Words such as "Fratelli" (brothers), "Orror!" (horror) or "Maledetto!" (curse) are as common in Italian opera as "Baby!" or "Dance!" are in rock music.

Along the line of the spiritual integrity of works of art, if we honestly say that the one music is better than the other, then we are following the wrong path. We have to remember that Offenbach was the veritable pop music of its time sung at the Parisian Opera Comique by actors. Mozart? Ever heard Emperor Joseph the Second's quote: "Mr. Mozart, there are just too many notes"? Mozart and Offenbach were new and untried artists of their various times, using a sometimes lightweight artistic language, but working and brilliantly alive. They were not the icons they are today (just as Elvis was not the king of rock n roll yet back in 1954). It was up to every individual to decide whether to take them seriously or not. The established artists now have the advantage of enjoying respect. Back then? Well, just compare again how Elvis was viewed back in 1954 (the sinful teen idol with the gyrating hips) to how he how he is viewed today in 2018 (the king of rock 'n roll). Was Mozart taken seriously back in the 18th century? Not by the elite, no. For the average worker, his operas were as entertaining as Shakespeare's plays were to the Renaissance man. Today, Mozart and Shakespeare are icons. Back then, Mozart was just a frivolous composer living in Austria. Shakespeare worked for Queen Elizabeth, but he still worked in a time when actors were not considered too "top of the pops".
And as for Mozart's stature as "wonder child", it was passé as soon as he outgrew "cute". He certainly was the greatest genius to walk the Earth, but for the 1780s aristocrat, Mozart was a former child star. Macaulay Culkin's career outgrew its extravaganza as soon as he was too old to play the boy next door. Mozart had the same problem.
A child celebrity rock star suffering from having grown up.
Today, Mozart is a legend.
What similar fate do we see in our time? What future legends grace our billboards today?

We see what the music is today, because we do not see it through the filters of the time. We regard it in retrospect.
Some opera freaks wrinkle their noses at rock, calling rock musicians autodidactic when all successful rock musicians have worked themselves silly to become what they are. The list of classical musicians turned rock is very long.
That works vice versa as well. Some rockers and musical theatre artists see opera singers as overweight statues with scarves who have never seen a rock stadium for within. But I have many ex-rockers turned opera singers as colleagues. There are Vietnam veterans and loads of orchestra musicians that re-educated themselves to become operatic performers.

As we know, it is easier to idolize an artist, turning him into a legend, once he is dead, whatever his genre.
Music is art's sister, someone once said. Some painters lived and breathed the spiritual message of their art, but never lived to see the booming success of their work.
Van Gogh, for one, sold only one painting during his lifetime and that one to his brother. Talk about frustrating.
"Dad, I wanna be a painter."
Van Gogh probably saw himself as a failure, poor fellah.
Well, prick up your ears, folks.
The painting the poor man created for his colleague Gaugin for free back in August of 1888, five months after Jack the Ripper created havoc in Whitechapel, was sold 99 years later at Christie's Auction to a Japanese buyer for 24 million British pounds.
This goes on and on and it all has to do with artists being before their time or being in love with styles taken seriously only after their own lives.
Franz Schubert, the songwriter no academic singer today escapes, sent his composition of Goethe's poem "Erlkönig" to Goethe himself. Goethe sent it back to the wrong Franz Schubert with the words: "Never ever send me trash like this again!" The interpretation of that song today exceeds the millions.
The art remains the same.
It was just as valuable back when nobody sang it.

All this leads up to the established artist. He or she works all his life to be taken seriously in order to make a good living. Whether he receives his recognition in his life or afterwards is the question.
What remains to say is that Barry Manilow and Neil Sedaka were both Julliard students. Classical composer Maurice Ravel wrote pop songs under an assumed name and Enrico Caruso sang them. Billy Joel, Elton John and Freddie Mercury were all classical pianists. Music is music. There are songs by Toto with more depth than three operettas put together. Bottom line, we shouldn't take the establishment at face value.
We can if we want to, but face the facts: if it inspires you to do good, that's good enough for anyone.

What we finally can say is that the cliché remains an eternal truth: there are only two kinds of art: good and bad. All we have to do is shut up the snobs and rock our socks off.

Talent is eternal.

As the famous Ethel Merman once said: "Either ya got it or you ain't!"


~Charles E.J. Moulton

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