I began filming in Budapest, Hungary, for my ill-fated experience with William Peter Blatty’s The Ninth Configuration (1980). The script for this drama/thriller had absolutely nothing to do with Hungary. The production was being filmed in Budapest because of a financial arrangement between an American business, one that had assets trapped within Soviet-controlled Hungary in the late 1970s, and the writer/producer/director William Peter Blatty, author of the legendary novel and film, The Exorcist.
I was set to play a role which was eventually performed by Scott Wilson.
Rather than wallow in blood-under-the-bridge memories, I will simply relate my brief but telling experience with Béla Bartók’s Hungary under the closed fist of the Soviet Union and the illusively Americanized Hungarian, George Soros.
As I write this, I am listening to the computer playbacks of my First Symphony. A work dedicated to the memory of one of my greatest heroes: the Hungarian composer Béla Bartók. It is an unfinished work because the earliest versions have lain in storage as a 3rd Concerto for Orchestra, a work that was persistently trying to redefine itself.
Since two movements follow a sonata form, I felt this work was begging to be treated as my first symphony and not a bravura exercise for modern orchestra.
When filming The Ninth Configuration, I visited the Béla Bartók Memorial House in Budapest. Had I known then what Bartók would mean to me now, I might have left that museum in tears.
My two most indelible experiences with Hungary came through the inevitably dueling personalities of Béla Bartók and George Soros.
I had been escorted once through the American home of George Soros by a mutual friend. It was hardly the thrilling encounter I had enjoyed in the Béla Bartók Memorial House. In fact, later… much later… I would encounter the Soros Dynasty with utterly committed disgust for everything Soros has stood for in the land he’d emigrated to: the United States of America.
In short, Bartók brought his divinely musical genius to America and George Soros, from his Bunker in America, has infected the entire world with his obscenely-gotten, ill-gained Dr. Evil’s Puppet Show.
If there is any similarity between Bartók and George Soros, Soros tosses entire nations around as if they were notes on his own score for a Fourth World Reich. He’s conducting his own Walpurgisnacht in a forceful, Sorosian cleansing of American democracy by the impositions of his insatiably Faustian dreams and ambitions.
The first movement of my First Symphony encapsulates Béla Bartók’s plight in the last year of his life (1945), when the dying composer suffered the last stages of leukemia. While the soul of his music remains indomitable, his body begins to break down until, of course, he can no longer battle death’s inevitable victory.
Since I have yet to complete any of the movements for my First Symphony, I am still unsure whether my vision of Bartok can “say farewell” to us with quiet surrender? Should he leave his audience in much the same way the soul of Gustav Mahler chose to end his 9th Symphony? Leonard Bernstein describes Mahler’s softly stunning exit in an utterly and profoundly compassionate and poetic translation of his fellow-composer/conductor’s final notes.
Or did the soul of Béla Bartók retain his ecstatically vibrant abandon to the very end? Leaping over Death as if it were a half-informed music critic?
When I’ve completed all movements… now possibly five… I will only then know how the first movement ends: with Dylan Thomas’ rage against the dying of the light, or an ultimately peaceful surrender, or some other, third, “Moriartyized” alternative?
“Through silence more than notes,” is how Bernstein describes Mahler’s musically engraved exit.
Since abrupt silences already dot my first movement’s progress toward an end?
“Spider web threads”, as Bernstein describes Mahler’s last hold on life. No.
Bartók’s piercing eyes, until closed for the very last time, would, in the end, communicate more than “threads.”
The second movement of my First Symphony is a Marche Funèbre.
Most devotees of the world’s concert halls know such a tempo as an allusion or tribute to Ludwig van Beethoven’s indelible but profoundly reconsidered tribute to Napoleon Bonaparte.
I have no hesitation to call my second movement not only a tribute but, indeed, a resurrection of the eternally life-giving, erotic mischief within one of the world’s greatest composers, Béla Bartók.
Freely if not comfortably ensconced in the United States, Bartók did not suffer under the sadistic prudishness of Soviet Russia’s Joseph Stalin and that monster’s terrorist tactics for errant Russian artists such as Dmitri Shostakovich.
The eroticism of Shostakovich’s very popular opera, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, was roundly condemned by Stalin as filled with “Western decadence.”
Listen to the Keeping Score link above.
Michael Tilson Thomas’ description of the nightmare tyranny under which Shostakovich was expected to compose is piercingly accurate because of the San Francisco Symphony’s investment in their conductor’s message. Having worked myself for over three years with New York’s Soviet émigré musicians, all of whom are equally represented in Free World Symphony Orchestras everywhere!
This story of Communist terrorism has been resurrected in the recent turmoil surrounding Chen Quangcheng and his life as a dissenter under Red China’s tyranny.
Tilson Thomas’ “hunch” or solidly supported belief that Shostakovich buried a “secret message” in his Fifth Symphony?
This entire Free World Instinct about the plight of courageous human beings under Communism has been repeatedly confirmed by Chen Quangcheng, the Tiananmen Square uprising and the inevitable fall of the Berlin Wall, but historically recorded by Solomon Volkov’s documentary novel, Shostakovich and Stalin: The Extraordinary Relationship Between the Great Composer and the Brutal Dictator.
One of the best and desperately needed revelations is Jung Chang’s biography of Mao Zedong: Mao, The Unknown Story.
What are we left with in America, in the wake of the Clinton/Bush/Obama New World Order?
A Sorosian, Progressively Marxist, New World Order Waltz!
That is my third movement’s now not-so-secret subtitle and the meaning of its interlude between Bartók’s death, funereal but mischievous resurrection and the final movement’s ultimate triumph! There is no need for a “secret message” unless, of course, the Sorosian New World Order reaches Canada.
Meanwhile, George Soros’ fellow Hungarian, Béla Bartók, continues to inspire composers, young and old, to follow their deepest instincts, despite the security that acquiescence to tyranny might bring.
The breath of fresh (but individually free) air in Second World War America was the only vitamin pill that Béla Bartók needed to inspire his divinely singular achievement: The Concerto for Orchestra.
Bartók’s premature death was a tragedy for the entire human race. What music we might have had, were his genius afforded a full life? Such a Musing is incredibly painful to consider.
Hopefully my as-yet-unfinished First Symphony: In Memoriam Béla Bartók, will honor his memory eloquently enough to echo his contributions to music and help solidify his unquenchable love of freedom as well!