Sacrifice in the Name of Music

Discussion of Joseph Campbell's work with an emphasis on the personal creative impulse as well as the sociological role of the artist in today's global community.

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Sacrifice in the Name of Music

Post by Martin_Weyers » Fri Oct 02, 2009 4:49 pm

In the 18th century, in Italy every year more than 4.000 boys were castrated after being chosen to become "castrati". -- "Sacrificed in the name of music", as great Italian singer Cecilia Bartoli points out in an interesting promotion video for her new album Sacrificum, that will be published in October 2009.

A great example that proves, producing art is not always fun ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZdcp_FpfqI
Works of art are indeed always products of having been in danger, of having gone to the very end in an experience, to where man can go no further. -- Rainer Maria Rilke
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Clemsy
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Post by Clemsy » Sat Oct 03, 2009 12:02 pm

Sacrifice Martin? More like first degree assault! I can't even wrap my head around the mindset...
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Post by Neoplato » Sat Oct 03, 2009 12:38 pm

Yikes! :shock:

Um...I guess if you're not distracted by "natural urges", that would focus your concentration more on creativity. However, I'd rather be a second rate musician and keep my wee willie winkie. :D
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Post by Martin_Weyers » Sun Oct 04, 2009 3:15 am

Clemsy wrote:Sacrifice Martin? More like first degree assault! I can't even wrap my head around the mindset...
Isn't it better to have your testicles sacrificed for music, than your life for an obscure god? I understand Neoplato's preferences, of course. On the other hand, the achievement of these artists may have equilibrated the loss of genitals, especially if you consider that genitals can cause a lot of trouble.

It's impossible to compare though. I barely can imagine, that anyone was able to sing more beautiful than Cecilia. But then, I'm a fan!
Works of art are indeed always products of having been in danger, of having gone to the very end in an experience, to where man can go no further. -- Rainer Maria Rilke
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Post by Cindy B. » Sun Oct 04, 2009 12:26 pm

Hey, Martin.

When you offered your first post, I, too, wondered if perhaps in 18th century Europe, what seemed brutal to us was a fulfilling role and life for the castrato, so I looked around the web a bit. When it comes to the castrati as a whole, I decided, uh, no. Here's a surprisingly decent Wikipedia entry for any interested: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castrato

All this links back, of course, to the historical function of music in religious traditions and the patriarchal exclusion of women's participation. All fine arts are rooted in religion.

Cindy
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Post by Neoplato » Sun Oct 04, 2009 12:37 pm

A castrato (Italian, plural: castrati) is a man with a singing voice equivalent to that of a soprano, mezzo-soprano, or contralto voice produced either by castration of the singer before puberty or one who, because of an endocrinological condition, never reaches sexual maturity.
Needless to say, I'm a baritone. :D Me Me Me ME Me Me Me
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Post by Cindy B. » Sun Oct 04, 2009 12:39 pm

:D
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Post by Evinnra » Mon Oct 05, 2009 2:05 am

Although it takes a bit of focused vocal training, my range is three octaves in mezzo-soprano. It must be the German genes in me favouring efficiency but like Martin I too believe that making personal sacrifices for a cause is 'no big deal’. ( Besides, genitals do cause a lot of trouble. :oops: :roll: )
Yet, if there is a way to go about it, I’d rather have both: my capacity remaining intact and my work for the cause done properly. :wink:
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Post by Martin_Weyers » Mon Oct 05, 2009 8:21 am

I think Cindy has a point. The career of a castrato is no option for me either, though the castrati were adored artists. Maybe it's the major trial for heroes to make peace with their balls and get anything done inspite of them.

Evinnra, congratulations to mastering three octaves! I didn't know that you have been trained in singing. Do you like Cecilia's voice?
Works of art are indeed always products of having been in danger, of having gone to the very end in an experience, to where man can go no further. -- Rainer Maria Rilke
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Post by Clemsy » Mon Oct 05, 2009 9:37 am

Isn't it better to have your testicles sacrificed for music, than your life for an obscure god?
Only if it's a willing sacrifice, Martin! Sacrificing someone else's testicles for the pleasure of one's ears is... less than... something significant. Everything reads like understatement.

(Amusing moment for onlookers: The goalie on my 12 year old's soccer team got the ball right in the area under discussion the other day, and, of course, doubled over. So did every boy on both teams in an indisputable moment of thou art that. I hope someone has the video.)
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Post by jonsjourney » Mon Oct 05, 2009 10:18 am

Here we are discussing genital mutilation in historical terms and it is going on right now, even as we speak, in many African nations...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBEhynDDRkk

Of course I know everyone here is well aware of this...the folks here are too well informed to not be. I just thought some parity was in order. Life in the "modern world"....
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Post by Evinnra » Tue Oct 06, 2009 1:22 am

Martin_Weyers wrote:I think Cindy has a point. The career of a castrato is no option for me either, though the castrati were adored artists. Maybe it's the major trial for heroes to make peace with their balls and get anything done inspite of them.

Evinnra, congratulations to mastering three octaves! I didn't know that you have been trained in singing. Do you like Cecilia's voice?
Trained in singing? Well I don't want to tell porkies here so I let you judge whether an elementary school education that specialised in music teaching to young children is considered proper training when coupled with some private singing lessons at age thirty something. That was the occasion when I was told that I do have three octave range if my voice is trained. My undeveloped vocal range is merely two and a bit octaves which gets used only in church hymn singing. ( It feels kind of wrong to use my voice for a less noble cause than singing to/with a congregation. :? I know, it is a weird claim but to say something even more weird, I also loath singing solo yet I don't mind listening to solo artists.) Who is Cecilia? (Other than Saint Cecilia the patron saint of music and family life I don't know who you are referring to. :oops: )

Had to laugh out loud on reading your comment Clemsy! :lol: Indeed, seeing beneficial outcome from the castration of others seems to be more popular than experiencing castration for the sake of greater good. I did not allow my daughter to pierce her ears - though she asked for it - before she turned 18 in order to spare my self from later accusations that I knowingly allowed her to be physically altered before she could give her consent. Rape is not my thing - to put it mildly. :lol: .
Last edited by Evinnra on Thu Oct 08, 2009 10:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Martin_Weyers » Tue Oct 06, 2009 8:51 am

Evinnra wrote: Who is Cecilia?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZdcp_FpfqI
Clemsy wrote: Only if it's a willing sacrifice, Martin! Sacrificing someone else's testicles for the pleasure of one's ears is... less than... something significant. Everything reads like understatement.
I'm not suggesting to reintroduce that tradition. I guess what made me starting this thread is the fascination about it's existance in "modern" Europe of the 18th century as well as its relation to mythic traditions. Many people here seem to have a desire for a mythically based society. The castrato tradition pretty much reminds me on initiations in mythic societies: These boys are not initiated into the life of a hunter, warrior, shaman or family man, but initiated into another social role -- one that is worshipped in a way that is typical for sacred traditions.
Works of art are indeed always products of having been in danger, of having gone to the very end in an experience, to where man can go no further. -- Rainer Maria Rilke
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Post by Cindy B. » Tue Oct 06, 2009 9:50 am

I agree with you, Martin, in the sense that it's not our literal mythic past and all its trappings that needs to be recaptured but the spirit and imagination inherent in the mythic that can move us forward. Good grief, I wouldn't want to go back for anything. :wink:

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Post by Clemsy » Tue Oct 06, 2009 10:10 am

I'm not suggesting to reintroduce that tradition.
In that case, Martin, I'll not worry about you having lost your mind! (Didn't think you were suggesting anything of the kind, of course.)

I can see how the practice would remind you of initiation rituals... but considering the era...

Remember, I was a voice in a Catholic boy's choir over which the nuns oooh'd and aaah'd. :shock:

Just let the ladies sing, sing, sing!
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