)Does Instrumental Music Tell a Story? When music has words, the lyrics usually
)Does Instrumental Music Tell a Story? When music has words, the lyrics usually express yet often limit and control feelings. The listener then is subject to the meaning of the words. There is little room for interpretation but easy to relate to as no thought is required. I have written many vocal pieces and choir pieces plus a couple of musicals and two operas. They are much easier to compose compared to substantial orchestral work. Half the work, the lyrics or libretto) is done before the composer begins.
With many instrumental music works, the possibilities of what the music is expressing are endless and up to the interpretation of the listener.
Juxtapose Composer, Max Simoncic: This is the first movement only: please copy and paste if required.
Why did I write it? It is biographical. My story through my music compositions is my own. What you think each section means is just as valuable because it is your story.That’s why I prefer writing instrumental music over a vocal song. Symphony orchestras will ask me to write something about the music so that it can be printed in the music program. I don’t share the true meaning if it is personal work, as it may distract the listener.
Please know that even five minutes of a large orchestral score takes months to compose. Who knows, maybe it would have been a different work had my parents not died while I was writing this work?
All three movements of my work, Juxtapose, are autobiographical. You have been asked to comment on just the first movement. Whatever you think each timestamp section represents or means to you is as valuable as my reason for writing it.
Answer This: Using the same timestamps comment on my personal thoughts as I was composing the movement and if you could relate to each timestamp through my story.
Juxtapose, the first movement only: I added a small section from timestamp 0:00-1:17following my mother and father’s passing.
The second timestamp from 2:17 to 3:54 was a personal feeling of love for my parents.
Third Timestamp 3:55- 5:10 is a reflection of the brutal hardships inflicted upon me and my family Post-WWII by the socialist/communist government and its socialist/communist mob-mentality citizens. My mother’s refusal to join the socialist/communist path and give up our Christian faith was our ticket to prison and a living hell.
My mother, two teenage sisters, and I, aged 8 months were sent to a political prison camp. We were tried and sentenced by the socialist towns’ people for not complying with the new rules and agendas which were anti-Christian. These were the same people that lead the canceled culture of a socialist agenda destroying any history that did not fit their momentary narrative. (Just to make myself clear, I’m not comparing this to anything taking place in the USA, that’s an entirely different situation). In Yugoslavia during the rise of socialism and communism, the names of authors, composers, artists, playwrights, and teachers, were erased from their works if they did not comply with the government and the mob.
We spent the next 5 years in that political prison camp. Mom and my sisters were forced into slave labor. For them, the 12+ hours per day were fierce and ugly. There was little food and a great deal of physical and mental abuse. The details of those 5 years are too ugly to share.
By age 3, I learned to sing communist patriotic songs for scraps of food from Yugoslavian communist soldiers. That is if they weren’t in the mood to give all of us a beating. My story is ever so common from all parts of a non-free world where rightsare taken from individuals as dictated by mob mentality and a totalitarian government. As a footnote, tens of thousands of Catholics, Christians, and those simply opposed to socialism were executed by Tito’s soldiers. This took place after WWII; others, such as us, were placed into political prison camps.
Timestamp 5:10 to 6:14 (The triumph of escape and finally freedom): In our 5th year my mother planned our escape. She found out that some other people in the prison camp were disappearing (being shot). By the grace of God, we managed to escape in the cold of winter. Our journey took several weeks and many hiding places. There were just enough non-socialist sympathizers helping us reach the border of Italy and into freedom. The story is actually longer. We were hunted, but that is something I wish not to share. We finally made it to an American-run refugee camp in Italy. There we found my father. We had no idea that he was there or that he was even alive.
It wasn’t until the Yugoslavian War of the early 1990s when communism fell in Yugoslavia that the truth began to emerge. The names of authors, composers, artists, etc. that were canceled and erased were now placed back on their works. My grandfather’s librettos, poetry, and books had been canceled for decades until the socialist/communist government fell.
Answer this: After listening to the timestamps and reading my story sections to the timestamps, what were your initial thoughts on instrumental music telling a story?