Monday, February 11, 2013

Music: Vintage 1908

Commenter "Dan" asked if I'd: "do a post on why 1908 was such a great year for music?" I asked for a little clarification on whether Dan was thinking along the lines of musicians born that year (whose talents would only come to light decades later); or was interested in what was actually going on musically in the year 1908? Reply was:
I am more interested in what was actually going on musically in the year 1908. Two of my favourite pieces were composed that year - Gustav Malher's The Song of the Earth and Gustav Holst's Savitri opus 25. On the other side Arnold Schoenberg started his adventure in atonal music and RCA Victor and Columbia market the flat disc recordings. And among pop music, there is It's a Long, Long Way to Tipperary and Take Me Out to the Ball Game which seem to be everlasting.
Hmmm......and hmmm again.

First thought was that Dan's attraction to particular music originating in 1908 might have reflection in his own natal chart in some way.

Next thought: to take a look at the outer planets' positions for that year, for these can indicate a general overall "atmosphere" for the time in question.

Uranus transited Capricorn in 1908 moving between 12 and 14 degrees with some back-and-forth during the year.
Neptune transited Cancer between 13 and 16 degrees.
Pluto transited Gemini between 23 and 25 degrees.

I think we can discount Pluto when considering matters musical.

In 1908 we see a Uranus-Neptune opposition, Capricorn-Cancer. Bearing in mind that Uranus connects to change, invention, the avant garde; and that Neptune is planet of creativity (among other things), this long-lasting alignment, the two planets around 180 degrees from each other, has significance. Most astrologers, when writing about this opposition, which lasted roughly 1905 to 1912, emphasise division, social class struggle and conflict which would eventually lead to the start of World War I in 1914. None of which takes into account Neptune's link to creativity being dynamically activated by avant garde Uranus.

I see related influence in two of the items "Dan" mentioned: Arnold Schoenberg's adventure in atonal music and RCA Victor and Columbia marketing the flat disc recordings.

Richard Tarnas did touch on how the arts in general reacted during this period of time - (See HERE)
.........the extraordinary confluence of events that coincided with the last Uranus-Neptune opposition which extended throughout the first decade and a half of the twentieth century: the revolution in human self-understanding mediated by depth psychology, especially Jung's archetypal psychology and his deepening of Freud's psychoanalytic breakthrough (which continued its own important evolution during these years); the revolutions in physics and cosmology (Einstein's relativity theory, Planck's quantum theory); in painting and the visual arts (Picasso, Matisse, Braque, Kandinsky); literature (Joyce, Proust, Kafka, Rilke); music (Stravinsky, Schoenberg); philosophy (William James, Bergson, Husserl); spiritual activism (Gandhi, Tolstoy), esotericism and mysticism (Rudolf Steiner, Aurobindo). The remarkable coalescing of these and many other related events and trends precipitated a radical transformation of vision for the entire culture, as well as the seeds for future profound changes in the cultural psyche.
Considering music, without particular astrological links, a rundown of "musical ages" at is interesting:

Timelines only quoted here (apart from the period relevant to this post) - full detail at the link.
There are 5 musical periods, which are listed and explained below:

Medieval and Renaissance (0 – 1600 A.D.)
Baroque (1600 – 1750 A.D.)
Classical (1750 – 1820 A.D.)
Romantic (1820 – 1910 A.D.)
With the coming of the industrial revolution, new thinking and new ideas were developing and these came to be expressed in the arts and music as well. Composers such as Berlioz, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Brahms, Liszt, Chopin and Tchaikovsky were some of the great composers of the romantic period. Gradually, the style of music writing became broader and more expressive. New techniques of playing were developed and instruments were improved.
In the early 20th century, the late romantic composers like Dvorak, Bruckner, Mahler, Debussy, Strauss, Ravel and Rachmaninoff took music into greater heights and gave it new dimensions. All these great composers developed and maintained their own styles and nationality to their music, though they worked within their frameworks in the musical period.
Modern Era (1910 – Present)
1908 stood at the end of the Romantic Era, on the cusp of the Modern Era. Any remaining Romanticism was to be obliterated by the onset of World War I.

From HERE: Some musical "firsts" from 1908 (among numerous other "firsts" relating to air travel, Ford's model T, communication and sports)
1st performance of Maurice Ravel's "Rapsodie Espagnole"

1908 "Take me out to the Ball Game registered for copyright.

Gustav Mahler's 7th Symphony, premieres in Prague

Brooklyn Academy of Music, opens in NYC

Oscar Strauss' musical "Der tapfere Soldat," premieres in Vienna

Edward Elgar's 1st Symphony in A, premieres

Frederick Delius' "In a Summer Garden," premieres.

One of the pieces of music mentioned by Dan:

Perhaps 1908's musical compositions have special appeal to "Dan" due to natal chart configurations. But in general 1908's musical atmosphere reflected the Neptune/Uranus opposition, on the cusp of something different, something new: invention and creativity, gradually changing the Romanticism present during much of the 19th century. I suspect that "Dan", via his natal chart, is particularly sensitive to that atmosphere.

(Illustration: Fluffy ruffles girls rag : characteristic two-step.Composer/Lyricist: Davis, Marian I.Publication: Cleveland :Charles I. Davis Music Publisher, 1908.


mike said...

A total solar eclipse occurred on January 3, 1908, conjunct Uranus and the South Node...opposing Neptune and the North Node. Mars and Saturn were conjunct in Pisces, too.

There was a powerful stellium in Cancer opposing Uranus during the annular solar eclipse of June 28, 1908.

There was another total solar eclipse December 23, 1908, at 1+ of Capricorn. At the same time, Uranus was opposed Neptune exactly at 16 Capricorn-Cancer.

There were a total of seven eclipses in 1908, which is the maximum number possible...rare! In a period of 5,000 years, only 159 years have seven eclipses.

This would accentuate your Uranus-Neptune discussion, Twilight. But have no idea whether this is significant toward the musical development of 1908.

Twilight said...

mike ~~ Interesting - thank you for that additional input, Mike. While the accentuation of Uranus-Neptune by eclipses might not have direct musical importance, it does put even more emphasis on the feelings of change and "moving on" from one era to the next which would have been felt in all the arts - as well as in other mundane spheres.

Dan said...

Thank very much you Twilight for your generosity. I see what you mean by the Uranus Neptune opposition and I agree with you about my attraction to the late Romanticism.

Twilight said...

Dan ~ Hi Dan -I was happy to oblige!