This idea of “the music of the spheres” runs through the history of Western civilization with an extraordinary consistency, even up to the 20th century. At first, it was meant literally; later, poetically. Then it was rejected. The radical metaphysics of modernity denied the existence of Nature as a teleological order. Things no longer had inbuilt ends or purposes. In other words, there was no longer a “harmony of the spheres” to approximate. Some such understanding led Arnold Schoenberg to his chilling statement that he had been “cured of the delusion that the artist’s aim is to create beauty.” Here we see the complete loss of vocation. Ugliness became a norm. If external order does not exist, then music collapses in on itself and deteriorates into an obsession with techniques. Music degenerated into a manipulation of sounds without discernible form.Life is purpose, so rejecting purpose is rejecting life. Excellent analysis. Well, what about the postmodern "beautiful" composers mentioned in the article? The author tosses all 20th century composers together, which is NOT good analysis. Sibelius and Shostakovich are PREmodern, not influenced by the Schoenberg shit. I sampled several of the listed POSTmoderns, using my seven-second rule, and found nothing worth listening. Tavener made me dizzy. Rochberg, ugly, no better than Schoenberg. Kinsella, sort of classical in form but no depth. Movie music. Maw sounds just like Schoenberg. Sorry, not impressed.
Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.